For online shopping, the holiday season is off to a solid start: comScore reports that U.S. spending has reached $9.7 billion in the first 20 days of the holiday season, according to Reuters. That represents a 14% leap from the same period last year. And increasingly, women seem to emerging as a more powerful spending force.
A new study just out from Boston Consulting Group reports that 98% of American women it surveyed are using the Internet, 80% of them daily, and 60% have access to three or more Internet-ready devices. And shopping is a major part of why they use the Internet, with 24% looking for product information, and 21% comparing prices.
Nor is it just young women: More than half of women, across all ages, say the sudden loss of Internet access would have a big negative impact on their lives, BCG reports.
"American women told us that they rank money and time as their key concerns,” writes Michael J. Silverstein, a BCG senior partner and author of Women Want More. “They are online now saving in both columns. They search for information, get prices and inventory availability and then close the sale out. They do this on their time schedules and with a dramatic improvement in price information. It's occurring in categories that range from appliances to shoes."
The study found that while men and women spend comparable amounts of time online, men are more likely to use price comparison sites, while women are more apt to refer to social media and seek personal recommendations.
Whether it’s men or women clicking, the weekend ahead is key. New data from Deloitte finds that 51% of holiday shoppers will either be online or in stores this weekend, with 26% planning on shopping online on Thanksgiving Day, 50% intending to shop online on Black Friday, and 41% intent on CyberMonday shopping. And comScore reports that in 2010, U.S. shoppers spent almost $22 billion online between early November and December 10.