Consumers Procrastinate Online Holiday Shopping

Holiday shoppers are expected to spend $32 billion online this season, with purchases happening well past ground shipping cutoff dates. That’s according to “Online Retail Holiday Forecast, 2006,” a report from JupiterResearch.

The expected $32 billion in online sales accounts for an 18 percent increase over last year.

“This holiday season, a lot of growth will come from increased spending,” said Vikram Sehgal, research director at JupiterResearch. “There are more people buying online, but the creator of growth will be in increased spending per consumer buying throughout the holidays.”

The number of shoppers will likely reach 114 million, a 6 percent increase over the 2005 holiday season. “The percentage of the population that doesn’t buy online is fairly small,” said Sehgal. “Expect numbers to plateau around 25 percent. It is mostly demographic driven, income and age driven. About 70 percent of people are buying online.”

Shipping barriers are unlikely to affect purchases. “More than one third of online holiday shoppers will still make online purchases after ground cut-off dates, which signals opportunity and added stress for retailers to capture the inevitable last minute purchases,” said Patti Freeman Evans in the report.

The trend presents opportunities to retailers who can include shipping guidelines in messaging. The early days of the season will still have peaks of activity, though thoughts of Cyber Monday, the Monday following what is traditionally known as Black Friday, will likely be a smaller peak than expected.

“Last year, the biggest spike wasn’t during Cyber Monday but was the weekend before Christmas,” said Sehgal.

The report is part of the JupiterResearch forecast model. It’s based on 32 retail categories.

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