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More than 55% of US consumers plan to do their holiday shopping online in 2009, and 26% plan to purchase more gifts over the internet than they did last year, according to a study from MarketLive, Inc.? and the e-tailing group.

Results from the fourth annual “2009 Mindset of a Multi-Channel Shopper” survey indicate that these figures have increased since 2008, when the same study revealed that only 49% of consumers planned to shop online and 21% planned to purchase more gifts over the internet.

Last year was the first year that the web surpassed the store as the preferred way for multi-channel shoppers to purchase holiday gifts, the e-tailing group reported.

In addition to the increase in shoppers buying holiday items online, the report also found:

  • 88% of shoppers are willing to pay full price for hard-to-find products, customer conveniences and effective customer service such as an 800 number, 85% say the primary reason for shopping online is still time savings, but 40% and 38% of shoppers, respectively, also rate wish lists and reviews as increasingly important.
  • Books, clothing, music, gift certificates, toys, and consumer electronics are the top product categories shoppers are likely to purchase online by at least 33% of respondents.
  • 62% report that high shipping charges remain the primary reason they will not buy more online, highlighting the fact that free shipping offers will again be very compelling this season.
  • While shoppers indicate a desire to remain loyal to their favorite retailer, 70% indicate that they are likely to shop competitors’ websites or retail stores when they encounter out-of-stock products this holiday season.
  • In-store pick-up for products purchased online was cited as important by 60% of shoppers.
  • One in three shoppers plan to use a mobile phone for shopping-related purposes such as price checks, in-stock checks, and redemption of promotions this holiday season.
  • Social networking sites will influence shopping behavior for 37% of online shoppers vs. 24% last year.

“It’s exciting to see shoppers continue to embrace the web channel, especially in these challenging economic times,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. “We as merchants must remain vigilant and deliver truly convenient, compelling and customer-service oriented experience to continue to reap market share channel gains.”

About the survey:? The research included a poll of more than 1,000 consumers about their shopping habits and plans for the upcoming holiday season.

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