The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

December 3, 2012

Jill Merle: Survey says more people plan to use Internet for holiday shopping

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $854 for gifts this holiday season, up from $646 last year according to the 27th annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc.”

The results of this study state 45 percent of the people surveyed plan to use the Internet to make their Christmas purchases. Of those making purchases on the Internet, the average planned spending is $1,245, which is up from $714 in 2011. This data is based on telephone interviews with 1,100 adults, randomly selected.  

I find it interesting that the people making purchases on the Internet are planning to spend over 45 percent more than the average holiday spending. This could be explained by several different factors.  One plausible explanation is that the people who shop on the Internet have a higher income level and are able to spend more on their holiday shopping. A second reason could be the ease of making purchases over the Internet encourages us to spend more. There could also be evidence that we are willing to pay more for items that we purchase online due to the convenience of purchasing at home and not having to fight the crowds and weather of going to the store. The study does not differentiate the amount of spending that online shoppers will do online versus in the stores, only that 45 percent will use the Internet for some portion of their purchases. This is up from 37 percent in 2011, 40 percent in 2010, and 42 percent in 2009. The study goes back to 2002, where the percent of people making purchases on the Internet was 39 percent. There has not been a steady trend in the data showing a constant increase, as might be expected, in the percent of people making purchases on the Internet. Over the 11 years reported, the data has ranged from 29 percent to this year’s high of 45 percent.  

With respect to shopping for sales, people claim they are willing to wait for sales. Only 18 percent of shoppers are willing to pay full price, while 54 percent will wait for the sale and 28 percent say it depends on the gift.

We have been trained by retailers to shop on certain days based on their promotions.

We wait until we have the best coupons before we purchase from some major retailers, and this allows them to staff their stores to meet this peak shopping demand.

They are able to use their non-sale days to reorganize the store, restack items and prepare for the next sale day.

Internet retailing does not need to manage for this face-to-face customer service and store organization. The online environment allows for greater flexibility in shopping hours and sale hours.

Many consumers are still learning where to get the best deals when shopping online while we have been trained as to the best time to do our in-store shopping.

Online retailers are still learning how to manipulate our Internet shopping behavior.

Columns from the Falls School of Business at Anderson University appear Tuesdays in The Herald Bulletin. This week’s columnist is professor Jill Merle.

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