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People Will Shop Online for the Convenience

Nielsen Online reported that online shopping's primary appeal is the convenience it offers. In an online survey, out of nearly 1,000 respondents, 81 percent indicated that the ability to shop anytime during the day was why they chose to shop online during the holiday season.

Saving time was the next most popular reason to shop online, with 77 percent of respondents, followed by the ability to comparison shop and find things easily, with 61 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

Only a minority of respondents, 46 percent, listed low prices as a reason to shop online rather than in-store. Even fewer respondents, 24 percent, cited low shipping costs.

"Coming into the holiday season, retailers are keenly focused on promotions, which certainly have the ability to move the needle in the short term," said Ken Cassar, vice president, industry solutions analytics, Nielsen Online.

"In the long run, however, convenience keeps people coming back to the Internet during the holiday season. It's available whenever consumers are ready to shop, offers a wide selection, and obviates the need to fight the crowds at the mall."

Online Share of Holiday Budget Respondents said that their 2007 online holiday spending would compose about the same share of their total holiday budgets as in 2006. Thirty-five percent of respondents, the largest group, reported they will spend between 25 and 50 percent of their holiday budget shopping online. Thirty-three percent of respondents expect to spend less than 25 percent of their overall holiday budget online.

"The fact that consumers expect to allocate the same share of what may be a shrinking overall holiday budget to the Web, suggests that online sales growth may not live up to the 20 percent annual growth rates we have seen in years past," said Cassar.

Among the most heavily trafficked online retailers, respondents ranked Dell as the highest in customer satisfaction, with 79 percent saying they were "Very Satisfied" with their experience. Barnesandnoble.com and Netflix followed close behind, with 77 percent of respondents being "Very Satisfied."

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