November 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Holiday shoppers hunt for values online

Amid economic gloom, more consumers are seeking bargains online. Two surveys provide a snapshot of consumers’ buying plans and expectations.

The 2008 holiday shopping season may be the most challenging yet for e-retailers, with October’s e-commerce sales up only 1% year-over-year, compared to a rise of 19% recorded in October of 2007, according to comScore Inc. Even with a 14% increase in spending by households with incomes of $100,000 or more, the overall rise in online spending for the August-October period this year was only 4% above the same period last year. Nonetheless, the online channel offers solid opportunity as consumers flock to the web in search of the best value, Forrester Research Inc. says in the report “Outlook for U.S. Online Holiday Sales.” 48% of respondents said they expect to find the best values online, up from 41% a year ago. Another Forrester report, “How Shoppers Evolve Online,” notes that the longer someone has shopped online the more they spend on the web.

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