U.S. Web Users: 80 Pct to Buy Gifts Online

A new poll conducted by AOL Shopping and Zogby International finds that ome 80 perecnt of U.S. Web users plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year, while nearly a quarter of the (24 percent) plan to spent most of their holiday budget online. The poll also finds some interesting regional differences in online versus brick-and-mortar retailing, with New Yorkers spending the biggest portions of their holiday budget via the Internet rather than in stores.

AOL Shopping commissioned the poll, which gathered responses from 37,199 Internet users who have agreed to participate in Zogby polls from November 1 to November 6, as well as surveys in the U.S.’s top 20 retail markets. The poll found that 80 percent of respondents expect to spend the same or more on holiday purchases this year as last year and that, nationwide, users plan to spent about 40 percent of their overall holiday budget online.

“These findings clearly show that U.S. Internet users are shopping online more and more during the holiday season because of convenience, selection and price,” said Robert Hayes, AOL VP/GM Marketplace, in a release. “The average consumer is starting to see the advantages of online shopping over the traditional brick and mortar store.”

Looking at the top 20 retail markets reveals that New Yorkers are planning to spend the most online, with an average of $1,483.36—some 70 percent of their holiday budgets—going to online vendors.

Some 58 percent of respondents noted that online shopping saved time, while 32 percent said shopping online simplifies comparing prices. Another 29 percent say they can find gift items online they cannot find in stores, and 17 percent cite online promotions and last-minute shopping as reasons they turn to online retailers. Only 9 percent of respondents cited gasoline costs as a reason to shop online.

What do people prefer to buy online rather than in a store? Books and music (60 percent), electronics (35 percent), toys/games (31 percent), clothing (29 percent), and computer software (23 percent).

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