• October 18, 2001

Consumers Drawn to Web for Holiday Shopping

studies and post-Sept. 11 updates suggest that consumers, some concerned about terrorism, will be more inclined to do their holiday shopping on the Internet. But how much money they'll spend is a matter of opinion.

Forrester Research said this week it's sticking with its original forecast of $11 billion in online holiday spending this year, 10 percent more than last season's take.

But worries about terrorism have added new incentives for consumers to e-shop, Forrester said in predicting that 6 million households will shop on the Internet for the first time this year.

People making online donations to Sept. 11 charities who found how easy it is to make an e-commerce transaction will likely return to the Internet for holiday shopping, Forrester noted. Additionally, many consumers reluctant to travel due to concerns spawned by the attacks will use the Internet to buy gifts instead of traveling to visit family and friends, the researchers said.

E-tail research company Vividence said 34 percent of consumers predicted they'll go through less money this season and 10 percent expect to spend more. Vividence spokesman Blake Wise said 37 percent plan to do more online shopping, and a fair number of them cited fears of further terrorist attacks in making their decision to spend less time in brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

"Twenty-nine percent of the people who said they wanted to shop online more did it specifically around public safety as a reason," Wise told Newsbytes. "They just didn't feel comfortable going out and shopping in stores."

Online comparison shopping guide BizRate.com downgraded its holiday e-shopping ringout by nearly $1 billion after Sept. 11, from $12.4 billion to $11.5 billion. Bizrate also believes holiday e-spending will rise 31 percent this year over last, compared to the 60 percent rise recorded from 1999 to 2000.

--Reported by Dick Kelsey, Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .

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