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November 23, 2005

Eight out of ten will still shop online at Christmas

Another day, another festive online shopping survey. This time, more than eight out of ten holiday shoppers say they will shop for Christmas gifts online, and a similar number said they are likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses.

By CBR Staff Writer

According to a new survey commissioned by Yahoo Small Business and conducted by Harris Interactive, there will be a significant increase in online shopping this December. Yahoo! Small Business says its survey results are further evidence of strong support among consumers for e-commerce with small businesses.

According to the survey, nearly a third of shoppers polled said they will do at least half of their holiday shopping online. In addition, nearly two thirds of holiday shoppers said online specialty or ‘niche’ retailers are the best places to shop for unusual or hard-to-find gifts.

The survey polled 1,813 online adults who plan to do holiday shopping. Results from the survey suggest that holiday shoppers look to small online retailers for unique, distinctive gift items, and a large majority would be likely to buy gifts online from small businesses, according to Yahoo.

Some 30 per cent of holiday shoppers will probably do at least 50 per cent of their shopping online and 63 per cent of the respondents said niche retailers are the best places to shop.

Holiday shoppers are ready and willing to buy gifts online from small businesses that offer variety and value, said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Small Business. The survey results are an encouraging confirmation that small business e-commerce has become an integral part of the holiday shopping experience for many consumers.

A major driver sending shoppers online is the rising price of petrol. Nearly four out of five holiday shoppers surveyed said they would change their shopping habits if fuel prices remain high or climb higher during the next few weeks Asked how they might change, many shoppers indicated they would be on the road less and on the Web more.

Nearly three in five holiday shoppers surveyed said it was important that their favorite specialty or gift stores have an online presence. Seventy per cent said they had no preference between shopping online with small versus large businesses.

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Shoppers also stated that the key reasons they would shop for gifts online with small businesses include convenient hours, avoiding crowded parking lots and the ability to find just the right gift, while fewer see low prices as a key factor:

These data confirm that small business retailers need to be in front of online consumers as they use the Internet to shop for products during the hectic holiday season, said Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling. Consumers clearly want what small retailers have to offer and those who can’t be found online are missing a significant potential opportunity.

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