October 31, 2001, 12:00 AM

Online holiday shopping will grow 10% to $11.9 billion, Jupiter predicts

Women will shop more online than men and the number of people overall shopping online will rise 28% to 46 million.

New York-based Jupiter Media Metrix reports that holiday online retail and travel sales will reach $11.9 billion, a 10% increase over $10.8 billion last year. Jupiter says more people will allocate their holiday shopping budget for online purchases after September’s terrorist attacks shifted consumer travel plans. "Because fewer Americans will travel via air this year, and those that do will be less likely to carry armloads of packages through tight airport security, there’s an increased liklihood that consumers will buy from online and catalog retailers," Jupiter senior analyst Ken Cassar says. The firm expects 46 million people to shop online, up 28% from 36 million last year.

The report, entitled "Holiday Shopping 2001: Only an Ordinary Frantic Holiday Season" includes results from an October survey showing that only 14% of those who plan to buy gifts online this season believe they will spend less than 10% of their budget online. That compares with 18% in 2000 and 61% in 1999. Jupiter says online budgets are increasing due to less travel plans, but spending per person is decreasing due to the economy.

Jupiter also reports that more women will shop online than men during this holiday season. Women will account for 53% of online holiday buyers. This is the first time women have out-numbered men online, even though men will spend more online due to purchases in larger-priced categories such as PCs and electronics, Jupiter says.

Jupiter’s survey also shows that consumers will continue to buy from the same gift categories as last season. Top products include books, which 40% will buy; clothing and shoes, 30%; toys 29%; videos, 20%; and music, 28%. The largest drop in a category was for computers and accessories. In 2000, 24% of consumers planned to buy them online, while this year only 18% say they will do so. Jupiter attributes the drop to the economy and the fact that online shoppers are increasingly mass-market buyers who are less interested in technology.

Regarding the events of September 11 and their aftermath, Jupiter advises merchants not to directly address fears of terrorism on their web site, lest consumers perceive them to be taking advantage of their fears. Other advice includes allowing gift buyers to notify recipients on the outside of the box who sent the package.


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