PC Products Hot for the Holidays

Shoppers in the US purchased a significant amount of computer products this Christmas, according to a recent online poll conducted by PC Data. In addition, more than half of the 700 online users surveyed purchased non-computer products for the holidays.

Nearly 71 percent of those currently online purchased computer products as gifts, the survey found. The most frequently purchased products were PC games and educational software. Although 75 percent of survey respondents said they expected to purchase PC products from stores, nearly 40 percent planned to do some shopping for these products online.

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed purchased non-PC products through the Web during the holidays. Nearly half of those surveyed bought music and books, while more than 20 percent purchased clothing, toys, and movies online.

Online computer retailers posted well over $1 billion in combined computer products sales in 1998, according to the annual Top 100 Retailers survey by Computer Retail Week. Despite the price drop in the personal computer market, computer retailers made gains with Internet stores and direct marketing, pushing 1998 sales among the Top 100 retailers to a projected total of $37.6 billion, the survey found.

Shoppers expected to spend relatively modest amounts while purchasing these products. Almost half (47.4 percent) of the people surveyed said they expect to spend under $100, 39.4 percent between $100 and $500, and only 13 percent anticipate spending more than $500.

“Not surprisingly, individuals with a household income above $80,000 and those who have owned PCs for more than six years were more likely to shop online,” said PC Data president Ann Stephens, “but nearly every group was strongly represented in online shopping. Men, women, computer novices, and those with years of experience all took part in a very large way. This has become mainstream.”

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and shop.org announced that online holiday sales grew this year, and that revenues nearly tripled. The companies collected data from November 23-December 20, 1998 and found that revenue for the holiday season grew by 230 percent. The average order in 1998 cost $55, up 6 percent over last year. Data was collected from retailers in all the major gift categories. According to BCG VP David Pecaut, 1998 is the year online retailing became an accepted retail alternative.

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