New Report Says 2003 Online Holiday Spending Jumps 18 Percent to $2.7 Billion

17th Dec 2003

The eSpending report from Goldman, Sachs
& Co., Harris Interactive, and Nielsen//NetRatings today revealed that nearly one in three or 42 million
shoppers reported to have completed their online holiday shopping. Additionally, the latest weekly report
showed that excluding travel, consumers spent $2.7 billion online last week, an 18 percent weekly
increase and an increase of 85 percent as compared to the same week last year.
The latest eSpending report showed that 31 percent of respondents have completed their holiday
shopping online. Forty-six percent reported to have started their online shopping, while only 24 percent
have not begun their holiday shopping on the Web.
“With nearly seventy percent of consumers still shopping, there’s still plenty of room for growth and
increased spending online,” said Abha Bhagat, senior analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. “Additionally, with
Chanukah beginning three weeks later this year as compared to last year and retailers extending shipping
deadlines, we’re looking forward to continued growth and a solid overall holiday season.”
Shoppers Still Seeking to Avoid Crowds
When asked about the top three reasons why online shopping was preferred over in-store shopping, 38
percent of respondents stated that they preferred to avoid crowds (see Table 1). As with previous years,
this was the number one reason for consumers to shop online, especially towards the latter part of the
holiday season. Also compelling for shoppers were prices - 35 percent of those surveyed stated that they
shopped online because they expected to find lower prices online than in retail stores. Other top reasons
for shopping online included the ease of comparison shopping online and the inconvenience of traveling
to stores.
“Convenience and ease of comparison shopping have long been advantages for online shoppers,” said
Lori Iventosch-James, director of ecommerce research, Harris Interactive. “As the holiday season
progresses, we expect to see a shift in priorities as price will decrease in importance and the desire to
avoid crowds grows greater. And as more retailers are making product returns easier, either in-store or
through free return shipping, online shopping is an increasingly attractive option.”
In fact, online shoppers reported higher levels of customer satisfaction with their online shopping
experience as compared with previous years. Of those surveyed, 42 percent responded that they were
“very satisfied” with the 2003 holiday shopping season, marking a 10 point increase year-over-year


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