Free Shipping and Returns, Special Deals Attract Online Holiday Shoppers

December 18, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

Perks such as free shipping and exclusive online incentives continue to drive consumers to the web, and while bargain-hunting remains the primary reason for online sales… shipping costs remain the top frustration, according to The Conference Board and TNS.

The following factors, according to the Consumer Internet Barometer, would encourage online shopping:

  • 90% of online holiday shoppers said free shipping would entice them to spend more online this holiday season.
  • More than 73% said special offers and deals not available in stores would boost their online holiday spending.
  • Half of holiday shoppers would be willing to spend more if the merchandise were offered exclusively online.
  • Similarly, half of holiday shoppers claim that the ability to return items to a store would make them purchase more products online.
  • One-third said free postage for returns would increase their online holiday purchases.

Top Gifts, Site Types
This holiday season, books, movies, clothes and toys are at the top of consumers’ online shopping lists. Consumers’ most preferred types of sites:

  • For 43% of consumers, the most preferred type of site to shop online are retail and catalog (,, etc.).
  • Online retailers (,, etc.) are preferred by 37% of consumers.
  • Online auction sites (, Yahoo Auctions, etc.) are most preferred by about 21% of internet shoppers.
  • Male shoppers cited online retailers as their most preferred shopping sites, while female shoppers preferred retail/catalog sites.

Consumers to Also Hit Stores

Consumers are saving their bigger holiday purchases for in-store shopping:

  • Less than 5% of online households plan to spend more than $500 online this holiday season, while 29% plan to spend less than $100 online.
  • Conversely, 21% of online households plan to spend more than $500 in stores, while 16% plan to spend less than $100 in stores.

“While in-store shopping still attracts the lion’s share of spending, trendsetter segments like younger consumers and affluent consumers look to online alternatives for an increasing part of their overall shopping needs,” noted Don Ryan, VP Technology and Media, TNS. “This is especially true for media and consumer electronics.”

The Types of Online Shoppers

Consumers are increasingly weighing the benefits of their shopping choices in stores and online.

  • Bargain-hunting shoppers account for 44% of shoppers who have made an online purchase in the past three months, up from 41% a year ago.
  • Traditional shoppers, who occasionally shop online but prefer the familiarity of brick and mortar stores, account for 16% of online shoppers.
  • Die-hard internet shoppers have decreased slightly since last year and account for about 16% of online shoppers.
  • Last-resort shoppers, who buy online only when products are unavailable in stores, constitute about 15% of online shoppers.
  • Hurried shoppers, who purchase online only when time is of the essence, have decreased slightly in size and represent about 10% of online shoppers.
  • More men than women, 46% vs. 41%, are self-proclaimed bargain hunters.

About the data: The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70%, which ensures representative data, which is also weighted to reflect the latest US household demographic information. The latest survey was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2007.


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