Report: Online Holiday Spending Grows Nearly 200%

Today, Zona Research, in conjunction with IntelliQuest, released results of a study of the buying habits and attitudes of over one thousand Internet users during 1998 holiday buying season.

Results show online holiday spending by Internet users rose from an average of $216 last year to $629 in 1998, up 191%. Of those surveyed, 58% reported having spent nothing online in 1997.

Leading the way in Internet purchases was the over-50 age group. Spending for respondents aged 50-54 grew an average of 545% ($626 compared with $97), while spending for those over 55 rose 547% ($1819 vs. $281 last year). While the under-25 group is widely believed to be much more Internet-savvy than older users, this group’s online holiday spending rose only 36%.

Men spent more than women, an average of $707 compared to $543, but online buying by women rose dramatically, up 308% over last year compared to an increase by men of 145%.

Zona’s study also showed that on average 26% of the sample’s total family holiday buying was done over the Internet, with 4% doing 90% of their shopping online.

“We think these results indicate the critical role Web shopping is beginning to play in the U.S. economy,” said Jack Staff, Zona director and chief economist.

“Last year was the beta testing phase for online holiday shopping — could consumers find the products they want, order and pay for them, and have them delivered as desired. Now we believe the gauntlet for traditional brick and mortar stores has been thrown down. Internet-based commerce is beginning to encroach on retail as a viable shopping experience for increasing numbers of Americans.”

Bearing this out, Zona’s data revealed that 61% of the online buyers expect to spend more money online in the coming year.

The Zona/IntelliQuest survey sampled 1,022 Internet users from IntelliQuest’s Consumer Web Panel. The panel was recruited from a variety of web sites and includes a spectrum of Internet users from novice to computer experts.

Zona Research, Inc. provides market analysis and strategic consulting to the Internet industry. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of IntelliQuest Information Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:IQST).

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