August 23, 2012, 4:59 PM

Nearly a third of online consumers prefer the web for holiday shopping

But many shoppers are worried about the economy, a new survey finds.

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Just less than a third of online consumers prefer to do their holiday shopping on the web, according to new survey results from RetailMeNot.com. The online coupon provider based its findings on an online survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted between Aug. 16 and Aug. 20.

That leaves 59% of online survey respondents who prefer to visit bricks-and-mortar stores for their holiday shopping, and the remaining 10% who say they aren’t shopping—that slice of the survey respondents tend to skew young or old, a RetailMeNot spokeswoman says.

The online coupon firm had no comparable data from prior years.

Retailers should prepare for holiday shoppers now, the survey suggests. That’s because 39% of respondents say they will start their holiday shopping before November—and women are more likely than men to start looking for gifts early on. Only 15% plan to wait to start their holiday shopping until the first Monday after Thanksgiving—marketing types have dubbed that day as Cyber Monday to encourage shoppers to go online from work computers in search of holiday purchases.

But those online consumers are going into the holiday shopping season with skeptical attitudes about the economy. 71% of respondents report having a “dismal” view of the economy, with one of four saying they worry about being able to make all their necessary purchases. 3% of respondents said that they felt the economy is in “good shape,” RetailMeNot says.

“We believe a lackluster economy combined with high demand for discounts while shopping will lead to more frequent and higher first-time use of coupons over time,” says Kristen Remeza, editor-in-chief of RetailMeNot Insider, the coupon provider’s editorial outlet.

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