Online Retailers Upbeat on Holiday Season
Despite the faltering economy surrounding them, online retailers remain optimistic for the holiday shopping season. In a recent survey from Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, conducted by the shopping search site Shopzilla.com, 56.1 percent of online retailers surveyed said they expect their holiday sales to increase at least 15 percent over last year. The 2008 eHoliday Study polled 2,040 online buyers and 60 online retailers from Sept. 29-Oct. 20. Here are some more of the study’s findings.
* 78 percent of the retailers said they plan to offer free shipping (with conditions) at some point during the holiday season, consistent with last year’s levels;
* 21.3 percent of the retailers said they’ll require a higher purchase amount for customers to be eligible for free shipping;
* 10.6 percent of the retailers said they’ll cut back on the usage of free shipping with no conditions;
* 40.4 percent of the retailers said renegotiating terms with shipping providers will be their top way to compensate for increased shipping costs, followed by closely managing company head count (33.3 percent) and reducing other promotions (15.8 percent);
* 58.6 percent of consumers surveyed listed 24-hour shopping convenience as the main reason why they choose to buy online, followed by not wanting to fight crowds (41.1 percent), easy price comparisons (36.4 percent) and free shipping (33.3 percent);
* 23.1 percent of consumers said they’re spending more online due to high gas prices, up significantly from last year’s 9 percent;
* 20.1 percent of consumers said they have less money to spend this year for the holidays, with 10.6 percent citing the poor economy as a factor;
* 11 percent of consumers said they’ll spend less online this year due to high shipping charges;
* 74.3 percent of multichannel retailers said they’ll offer e-mail registration in stores for customers who don’t yet subscribe;
* 71.4 percent of multichannel retailers said they’ll advertise their Web sites in stores; and
* 51.4 percent will offer the ability for store associates to place an online order for customers.
For more information, go to www.shop.org.