DoubleClick: Holiday Shoppers Shift Budgets Online

While most holiday shoppers plan to spend about the same amount this season as last year, the Internet continues to gain on traditional holiday shopping channels such as retail stores and catalogs, DoubleClick reported yesterday. According to the report--part of the DoubleClick Holiday 2004 Shopping Report series--45 percent of online shoppers said they plan to spend more online this year than last year, while 25 percent said they plan to spend less online.

In contrast, only 25 percent of those surveyed said they plan to spend more in retail stores than last year, compared to 30 percent who said they plan to spend less. Likewise, just 10 percent said they plan to spend more via catalogs, versus 49 percent who said they plan to spend less this year compared to last.

Retail stores will still see the majority of holiday dollars, DoubleClick determined. On average, respondents said they plan to spend one-third of their holiday gift budgets online, compared to 59 percent of their budgets in brick-and-mortar stores. Respondents said they plan to spend 8 percent of their budget on catalogs.

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Asked by DoubleClick how they found holiday gifts to buy online, 38 percent of respondents cited search engine results--the No. 1 choice out of 18 possible options. Next, 30 percent of respondents said they opened their wallets after "seeing products on a Web site." "Word of mouth" was cited by 26 percent of respondents, 22 percent cited "seeing them in a catalog," and 20 percent cited "seeing them in a store" as a spending catalyst.

Other catalysts noted in DoubleClick's survey included ads on search engines, 17 percent; e-mail marketing, 16 percent; television ads, 15 percent; television programs, 14 percent; Web advertising, 14 percent; comparison online shopping tools, 12 percent; and magazine ads, 11 percent.

Notably, 89 percent of "time-crunched shoppers" who come from high-income households--and value time saved over money spent--told DoubleClick they had already shopped online this season. Also, 60 percent of them plan to spend more online this season than they did last year. At 71 percent, "last-minute shoppers" were the next most likely to have already done some of their holiday shopping online among respondents.

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