Home » News » Business » Three out of four holiday shoppers will buy gifts online
Three out of four (76 percent) holiday shoppers said they plan to shop for holiday gifts online, and a similar number, 75 percent, said they are likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses, according to a new survey commissioned by Yahoo! Small Business and conducted by Harris InteractiveŽ. Survey respondents expressed strong support for e-commerce with small businesses that offer a secure payment system, easy customer checkout and free shipping.
Nearly a third of holiday shoppers (30 percent) said that they would do half or more of their holiday shopping online, and nearly two thirds (63 percent) said online specialty, 'niche,' or boutique retailers are one of the "best places" to shop for unusual or hard-to-find gifts.
"Many consumers rely on small businesses that are online during the holiday shopping season because they offer variety, value and unique gifts that aren't always available in stores," said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo! Small Business, the division of Yahoo! that powers more than 40,000 online stores. "The survey shows that shoppers have high expectations, but also high confidence in buying holiday gifts online with small businesses."
The nationwide survey of 2,766 U.S. online adults is being released in advance of the beginning of the peak holiday shopping season. The survey, conducted in late October, measured sentiment among the general online adult population about holiday shopping online.
Clues your small business can use - additional survey results:
Safe and easy
The survey results offer important clues for small businesses in gaining trust, and ultimately, sales from consumers. More than half (55 percent) of those who plan to shop for holiday gifts online said it was important for their favorite specialty or gift stores to have an online presence. Shoppers also expressed strong support for an online shopping experience that is both simple and secure.
If shopping at a small business online, what features would you find most important for an overall positive experience?
Trusted, secure online payment system (such as Paypal) 76%
Ease in navigating the site to browse, get information and make purchases 76%
Simplified customer checkout process 58%
Easy registration process 52%
24-hour customer services 47%
Attractive, professionally designed Web pages 39%
What I like about you
Online holiday gift shoppers overwhelmingly consider free shipping an important enticement in making purchases, with discounts and free return policies also key considerations.
When you are shopping online for holiday gifts, what special incentives or offers are most likely to entice you to buy from an online small business?
Free shipping 90%
Online discounts 69%
Free or no-hassle return policy 64%
Free gift wrapping service 27%
Gift certificates 24%
As for getting the attention of holiday shoppers, most of those U.S. adults who plan to shop online said recommendations from friends and family (60 percent) and search engines (57 percent) are top influencers in identifying small online businesses for holiday gift buying. Other important influencers or information sources include advertising on radio, in newspapers and on television (28%), online banner or display advertising (10%), blogs and "social media" Web sites such as video sharing and social networking (6%).
"The survey results confirm that consumers are eager to shop online with small retailers. However, they have high expectations for the online shopping experience," said Greg Sterling, principal, Sterling Market Intelligence. "Small businesses must therefore have sites that offer a level of performance and ease of use comparable to their larger competitors."
Some Call It Multi-tasking
One fifth (20 percent) of online holiday shoppers said they will do holiday shopping online while at work. Men are somewhat more likely to shop while on the job, with nearly one out of four (24 percent) saying they would shop online at work, compared to 17 percent of women. In addition, younger workers are more likely to shop online at work. According to the survey, one-fourth (26 percent) of those age 18-44 said they would shop online at work, compared to 13 percent of those age 45 and older.