As holiday shopping, despite the intensity of the current recession, heads toward an inevitable crescendo, one question of considerable interest is the degree to which Americans have transferred their buying from traditional shopping venues to the internet. It’s a question that can only be answered retrospectively, but the evidence is that, once again, an increasing proportion of holiday sales will transpire online.
In February of last year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted an extensive survey of internet users and their online buying propensities and habits. They concluded that “two-thirds of internet users said they had made a purchase online, such as a book, toy, music, or clothing — all holiday favorites.” In a subsequent survey in January 2009, the Pew Internet Project reported that 71% of online Americans had “bought something online.”
In a very brief summary of the survey results, Pew recently noted that “most internet users (78%) say that shopping online is convenient and 68% agree that buying products on the internet saves them time (a little Web browsing on the company dollar certainly beats a trip to the mall). However, at least in early 2008, many Americans continued to have reservations about online shopping. Three-fourths of internet users say they did not like giving out their credit card or personal information online and 43% are frustrated by the lack of information about products online.”
For a slightly less abbreviated summary of the survey, look here.