E-Shoppers Spent Third of Holiday Budgets Online

According to a new study by InsightExpress, the online arm of market research giant NFO Worldwide, online shoppers may have spent as much as 33 percent of their holiday shopping budgets online.

The study was conducted completely online through a random survey of 300 adults across the United States on December 20th. According to the company, the survey was developed, implemented and analyzed electronically within 24 hours.

Despite the widespread reports of shipping delays and Web site crashes, 86 percent of the respondents reported that they had a preference for online shopping versus traditional shopping. Considering that 25 percent of the respondents said that they were first time shoppers, the results show that new shoppers are not being turned off in droves by e-commerce failures.

The respondents also told personal stories of how they used online shopping to find gifts that they could not find in brick-and-mortar stores. One shopper from Boston, Massachusetts, for example, reported how he found a supposedly out-of-print book online in a few minutes and even had it gift-wrapped for delivery.

Consumers Clearly Like Online Shopping Concept

The survey found that despite encountering online glitches, 64 percent of the respondents said that they were satisfied with their online shopping experiences. Of those that did cite difficulties, the most common complaint was slow-loading or unavailable Web sites (49 percent), followed by the need to interface with customer service (20 percent) and the inability to find what they wanted (17 percent).

“The study shows that e-commerce sites will now have a full year to build on this success and fine tune the processes,” said Charles Hamlin, CEO of InsightExpress. “Bricks and mortar companies better be very good in 2000, or they can expect a lump of coal in next season’s stocking.”

Old Name Joins New Game

While InsightExpress is a new to the world of market research, its parent, NFO Worldwide, is one of the giants in the market research industry with about 13,000 full and part-time employees in 32 countries.

InsightExpress is a new service that allows companies to create their own custom research projects that are conducted online and analyzed electronically in 24 to 48 hours. Users create a questionnaire using a custom online editor and then select the targeted audience and number of respondents.

InsightExpress sends the questionnaire via e-mail to a proprietary list of potential respondents, tabulates the results and makes them available to the user online.

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