November 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Eight out of 10 holiday shoppers plan to buy gifts online, survey finds

A Yahoo Small Business survey finds 83% of holiday shoppers are likely to purchase online from small retailers. Nearly two-thirds say online niche stores are the best places to seek the unusual or hard-to-find gifts.

The online channel is slated for at least part of its holiday shopping by a majority of shoppers surveyed in a new Harris Interactive poll, and smaller online retailers are in line to get their fare share of those sales. 83% of those polled in the survey commissioned by Yahoo Small Business said they would shop for holiday gifts online, while 80% said they were likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses.

Some 30% of those surveyed said they would do at least half of their holiday shopping online. About two-thirds of respondents identified online specialty or nice retailers as the “best places” to shop for unusual or hard-to-find gifts.

In other findings, a high percentage of shoppers identified convenient hours (75%), avoiding crowded parking lots (68%) and the ability to locate hard-to-find or unusual gifts (60%) as the reason they planned to shop for holiday gifts online. A smaller percentage, 36%, identified lower prices as a reason to shop online for holiday gifts.

Nearly four out of five shoppers – 79% -- said they’d alter their shopping plans if gas prices remain or climb higher during the season. 45% said they’d make fewer shopping trips but do better planning to reduce those trips. 43% said they’d do more of their shopping online.

“Survey results indicate that small business e-commerce has become an integral part of the holiday shopping experience for many consumers,” says Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business, which powers more than 35,000 online stores.

The nationwide survey polled 1,813 U.S. online adults who planned to do holiday gift shopping.


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