64.8% of consumers plan to research or purchase gifts for the 2003 holiday online, rising from 57.8% who said the same in 2002. 5,482 Internet users ages 18 and older and found specifically that most (79.8%) respondents in the annual income bracket of $100,000 or more plan to use the Internet this holiday season. Still, even the lowest income bracket — those making under $35,000 annually — claims a sizable amount of people who plan to use the Net this holiday, at nearly 60%.
Among those people who plan to purchase gifts online this holiday season, over 57% say they will buy 25% or less of their holiday purchases online.
Just a week after Amazon.com introduced a tool that lets people search the entire text of many books it sells, the online retailer reported a boost in sales as a result of the feature. The Seattle-based company said Thursday that its “Search Inside the Book” feature, which launched Oct. 23, lifted sales for searchable books by 9%, compared with titles not part of the in-text database.
Nielsen//NetRatings reports that comparison shopping sites have grown in popularity over the past year, with over 21 million US Internet users visiting a comparison shopping site in August 2003. Traffic to PriceGrabber grew by 81% in August 2003 over August 2002 and traffic to NexTag rose by 74% over the same time frame. Specifically, Nielsen finds that Shopping.com gained over 11.9 million unique visitors in August 2003 and BizRate Shopping gained over 5.8 million.
Top sites: DealTime, BizRate, Nextag, PriceGrabber.
Amazon was the leading online retailer in 2002 with over $3.6 billion in sales.
eMarketer projects Q4 consumer spending online will reach $17.8 billion, its highest growth rate since e-commerce went mainstream in the 2000 season.
- US online retail sales (not including travel) will reach $55.0 billion in 2003, rising to $72.6 billion in 2004 (eMarketer)
- 81.2 million Americans will buy online in 2003, rising to 86.5 million in 2004 (eMarketer)
- The percentage of US online retailers reporting positive operating margins climbed from 56% in 2001 to 70% in 2002 (shop.org/Forrester Research)
- Top online department stores among US Internet users in terms of traffic include amazon.com (42.79%), walmart.com (9.12%), Target (7.48%), JC Penney (5.43%) and sears.com (4.98%) (Hitwise)
- US retailers’ leading reasons for investing in IT include reducing costs (23.4%), improving processes (20.7%) and increasing profits (19.3%) (Geotronics)
- 31% of North American retailers expect their companies’ IT spending to remain flat in 2004, 30% expect a 1% to 5% increase, 29% expect an increase of at least 5%, and only 11% expect a decrease (RIS News/Gartner)
The study shows that 78% of small businesses think their company benefits from having a website. 28% of small businesses said they rely heavily on their websites for sales purposes.
Forrester is confident that U.S. online retail sales this year will close at $95.7 billion, climbing to $229.9 billion in 2008. Next year’s sales are projected at $122.6 billion, with $149.2 billion, $176.8 billion and $204.3 billion forecast for 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. “Right now, e-commerce represents 3 percent of total retail sales,” Forrester consumer markets research director Kate Delhagen told e-commerce attendees at the show in New York. “By 2008, it’ll be 8%.”
Shop.org and Forrester Research reported that 70% of retailers reported positive operating margins in 2002, compared with 56% in 2001. Collectively, retailers broke even in sales in 2002, up from a loss of 6% in 2001. Such growth, particularly in a recovering economy, signals that next year may be the first in which online retailers are profitable overall.
Retail Forward reported this week that it projects retail sales will rise during the 2003 holiday season by 4% from the previous year’s season. Specifically in the online retail sector, Retail Forward projects a rise of 27% in the 2003 holiday season over that of 2002, with sales totaling $17.5 billion in Q4. For an idea of whether or not Retail Forward?s projection for Q4 is on track, the US Department of Commerce (DoC) reports that online retail sales in the US totaled $11.92 billion in the first quarter of this year and $12.48 billion in the second quarter.
ComScore Networks estimated that consumer spending in the Web-based travel industry grew by 36% over the first eight months of 2003, compared with the year before. According to ComScore, the sector totaled $27.6 billion in overall spending through the end of August 2003.