Burst: 64.8% consumers will research gifts online

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.

Nielsen: Comparison shopping is popular

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.

eMarketer on online retail

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)

Forrester: E-Commerce forecast for the US

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%.”

Retail Forward: Online Xmas shopping up to $17B

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: Online travel numbers

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.