Holiday Shopping Shifts Online for Convenience, Price

December 3, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Retail & E-Commerce

Consumers will continue to shift their gift buying online this holiday season, citing convenience, time constraints, and price among the primary reasons for shopping on the web, according to (pdf) a Nielsen Online pre-holiday survey, writes Retailer Daily.

With the current economic downturn, there is an increased focus on price this year, with 53% of consumers citing price as a reason to buy online, compared with 46% last year.


However, consumers continue to cite convenience more than price as the primary value of the channel, with 76% of consumers pointing to the ability to shop 24 hours a day and 74% citing saving time as reasons for shopping online.

“Based on our survey findings, we believe holiday online sales will grow from 2007, but likely at a single-digit rate and representing the smallest increase we’ve seen since the online commerce market was born,” said Ken Cassar, VP of industry insights, Nielsen Online.

“If there is a silver lining in these results, it is that consumers continue to view the online channel’s principal value proposition as convenience, more than price, allowing retailers the opportunity to differentiate on service and selection.”

Holiday Gift Dollars Shifting Online

Holiday gift budgets are shifting online, according to the survey results:

  • Respondents said that they would spend an increased share of their holiday shopping budget online: an average of 41% compared with 39% last year.
  • And more respondents indicated that they would spend the majority of their holiday gift budgets online: up to 36% from 32% a year ago.

“We expect consumers will be comparison-shopping, particularly in categories where goods are high-priced,” Cassar said. “However, in moderate and low-priced categories, retailers may be able to offer prices that are simply competitive, potentially preserving some of the margin that might otherwise be lost this year.”

Prospects for Growth

More consumers plan to make purchases in the “Toys & Video Games” and “Books” categories this holiday season than last.

The top 3 retailers, when ranked by the year-over-year increase in respondents intending to shop there this season, were Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Barnes & Noble.

About the findings: The online survey was fielded November 6-11 among some 1,300 online shoppers in the US who did holiday shopping online last year or planned to do so this year.


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