Holiday Consumer Budgets Move Online

Compete plans to release the latest survey results Saturday that identify consumer shopping behavior this holiday season. The latest findings from the Compete Holiday Insights survey from Nov. 1-7, suggest that consumers spent more time and money shopping online than in brick-and-mortar stores. On average, consumers spent $185 online, up 30% compared with two weeks prior, according to Compete.

On average, consumers spent $185 online -- up 30% from two weeks prior -- whereas offline spend averaged $175, down 32% from two weeks prior, according to Debra Miller Arbesman, senior associate, retail and consumer products at Compete.

As of Nov. 7, 61% of respondents indicated they had begun their holiday shopping. When asked which products consumers bought most last week as part of their holiday shopping, clothing and shoes, and toys and games took top spots with 71%. Movies and video followed with 54%; gift cards, 47%; books, 45%, electronics, 40%; decorations, 26%; jewelry and watches, 22%; photo gifts, 15%, and event tickets, 11%.

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Walmart and Target captured the most in-store shoppers, with 34% and 30% of consumers reporting to have shopped in those stores, respectively. Amazon tops the list of online destinations when it comes to holiday shoppers, capturing the budgets from 47% of survey respondents.

eBay and Overstock experienced a major increase in purchases, compared with brick-and-mortar e-retailers, with the exception of Bestbuy.com. Sears.com saw a 4-point bump in shopping -- up to 9%, perhaps due to its 3-Day "Better Than Black Friday Sale" last weekend, according to Miller Arbesman.

For the consumers buying online, 91% continue to opt to ship the goods to the home, rather than make a pickup in the store.

Search engines are the best source for finding information on products and services. In a recent past study, about 60% of people report using a search engine when shopping online for products, Miller Arbesman says.

Leading into the holidays, September 2010 showed that paid-search revenue rose 66% for Labor Day weekend vs. prior year, according to the PM Digital Rewind Index. Paid-search metrics for the company's retail clients in September reflect positive trends for online shopping. The Index covers all retail categories, including merchandise and apparel.

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