Report: Online Gift Registries Not Luring Shoppers

Online shoppers have stayed away from online gift registries and wish lists, despite the best efforts of Internet retailers to spark interest in the loyalty programs, according to a report released Wednesday by Jupiter Media Metrix (Nasdaq: JMXI).

The study showed that 7 percent of e-shoppers have created an online registry, or list of gifts they want to receive during the upcoming holiday season and 8 percent said they have made purchases from such a list.

“Online buyers have not adopted the use of online registries or wish lists to research or purchase gifts, despite the benefits they bring to ease the gift-purchasing process,” said Jupiter analyst Rob Leathern.

Gift registries are much more popular in brick-and-mortar retail stores, Jupiter said. However, Jupiter predicted that online use of wish lists will grow as the lists become available in multiple channels. In-store kiosks will provide a critical link to make registries more valuable to consumers, the research firm said.

“Multichannel retailers looking to boost online registry usage, especially this holiday season, must give consumers the ability to access registries in a physical location as well as online,” Leathern advised.

Wishes Everywhere

Many major e-tailers, including Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), which introduced registries and wish lists in 1999 after investing in a wedding-registry firm, have promoted online registries. In fact, Jupiter found that 40 percent of multichannel retailers have some form of gift registry in place on their Web sites.

However, only a quarter of online shoppers reported having any contact with gift registries online, a number Jupiter attributes to a “lack of perceived value.”

Lifetime Buyers

Female shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 are most likely to use online gift registries, the firm said. Jupiter said that statistic can be explained largely by the prominence of wedding and baby registries.

That group represents an enormous opportunity for e-tailers looking to target potential “lifetime consumers,” Jupiter said. For instance, consumers who register for bridal gifts will likely soon be in the market for home products, the firm said.

Join and Conquer

“The registry user audience has significant buying power that can’t be ignored,” Leathern said. “In this business environment, retailers should also be evaluating the multi-retailer registry business model as a low-cost entry.”

For some retailers, joining forces with each other to make offline and online registries possible may make sense, Jupiter said, especially if it lets them to get the registries online quickly and at a lower cost.

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