December 17, 2001, 12:00 AM

Consumers spent $2.6 billion online the first week in December, says survey

The eSpending report by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings says shoppers spent $2.6 billion on the web during the first week of December--nearly double the $1.4 billion spent during an average week in November.

Another survey reports that U.S. consumers are taking to the web. The eSpending report released today by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings, is the most positive report so far of online consumer spending. It reports that shoppers spent $2.6 billion on the web during the first week of December. That rate of spending is 91% higher than the $1.4 billion spent during an average week in November, the report says. About 20% of the spending is travel-related, Harris Interactive says, meaning that the eSpending report measures online retail spending at about $2 billion that week.

Consumers spent about $1.6 billion during the comparable week last year, Harris Interactive says.

The same report said last week that online shopping had grown only 10% in November from the previous November.

"The surge in online buying this past week is a critical first sign that online spending in December will increase faster than November`s modest 10% annual growth," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. "For a successful December, consumers will need to maintain these aggressive spending levels for the next two weeks."

On average, Americans spent $91 online during the week ending Dec. 7, an increase of $14 from the week prior. 20% of those surveyed made an online purchase this past week, as compared to 18% the previous week.

The eSpending survey also reported that 45% of consumers are satisfied with their online shopping experience, and another 14% are somewhat satisfied.

"The majority of shoppers are finding their online shopping experience to be quite satisfactory, with few reports of problems or failures," said Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive. "Moreover, 25% of shoppers report being more satisfied with their online holiday shopping experience this year as compared to last year. This is another sign that online shopping will continue to grow as a desirable alternative to going to the malls."

The eSpending Report by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings is based n a weekly national survey of 500 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris Interactive`s multimillion- member panel of Internet users.


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