November 24, 2009, 12:00 AM

Free shipping remains the best hook for luring online shoppers, survey says

Online shoppers are bargain hunting this holiday season, and free shipping and online-only deals are among the best ways to get them to buy, says a new survey. Another survey shows that 32% of consumers plan to do some online holiday shopping from work.

Online shoppers are cutting back on their spending and looking for free shipping offers and exclusive online deals, says a survey from The Conference Board and TNS. Another survey shows nearly a third of consumers plan to shop from work next Monday, and a third suggests many consumers remain concerned about using their credit card online, but will shop on the web anyway.

Consumers who plan to shop online are being a bit more frugal, according to the survey from The Conference Board, a nonprofit management organization, and research organization TNS. The survey of 3,946 adults conducted Nov. 2-8 found:

  • 33% of online households plan to spend less than $100 versus 32% last year, 29% v. 26% last year plan to spend $100 to $249, 8% v. 10% plan to spend $250 to $499, and 4% v. 5% plan to spend $500 or more. 27% do not plan to make an online purchase this holiday season, unchanged from last year.
  • Two-thirds of online households have made a purchase on the web in the past three months.
  • Online shoppers break down roughly as follows: two in five hunt for bargains online and in stores; about one-sixth are diehard store shoppers, and about the same percentage prefer shopping online; about one in seven are last-resort shoppers who go online only when products are not available in stores; and under 10% use the web when pressed for time.

    Nine of 10 online shoppers say free shipping offers would get them to shop more online, while two of three mentioned special deals and offers not available in stores and coupons and discounts. Shipping cost is the most-cited frustration about online shopping, mentioned by 45% of respondents, while 22% complain about not being able to see and touch products.


Two other surveys of consumers’ holiday spending plans report:

  • 32% of consumers say they will shop for holiday gifts from their work computers this season, up from 29% last year, reports personnel firm CareerBuilder.
  • 90% of consumers say they will shop online this holiday season, and 60% plan to shop the web more than last year-this despite the fact that 56% of the 650 respondents say they are concerned about using their credit card online, according to a survey commissioned by security software supplier Sunbelt Software.



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