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Internet Customer Satisfaction High As Holiday Shopping Begins

By Rob Spiegel
Oct 22, 1999 12:00 AM PT

An Internet study of e-tail buying trends and customer satisfaction released yesterday by Deloitte & Touche shows that most online consumers are happy with their e-commerce experiences and are eager to use the Internet to purchase gifts during the holiday buying season.

Internet Customer Satisfaction High As Holiday Shopping Begins

According to the study, high satisfaction levels will contribute to the average online shopper spending $219 (US$) at Internet sites as part of an overall holiday budget of $1,067.

"The computer has become the virtual mall for many consumers who are shopping for all types of goods and services," said Irwin Cohen, global managing director of the Consumer Business Practice at Deloitte & Touche. "Because of the convenience and consumers' positive experiences to date, Internet sales will represent 20 percent of what consumers expect to spend in total this holiday season -- at malls, online or through catalogs."

Shopping Satisfaction Rated By Category

The report evaluated customer satisfaction in 15 shopping categories. Using a 1-through-10 scale, the highest satisfaction scores came in airline/travel and books/magazines. Both categories received a ranking of 8.8.

Next in line were collectibles and event tickets, coming in at 8.69 and 8.67 respectively. CDs/tapes came in at 8.62, with motor vehicles ranking at 8.56.

All 15 categories received high marks, with consumers rating their overall shopping experience as favorable. The average of all categories was 8.4.

"Online retailers appear to be doing a good job of providing the right product at the right price to consumers," said Ed Carey, global leader of the Consumer Business Practice. "As a result, high levels of satisfaction with online buying predominate among consumers, which should help boost online spending this holiday season."

Convenience Is Top Reason for Internet Shopping

The number one reason listed for Internet shopping is convenience. Other reasons include reduced hassles, time savings, lower prices, and tax-free pricing.

In first place, 71 percent of buyers cited the 24/7 access to shopping. Coming in second at 67 percent was the chance to browse without store personnel lurking around.

Additionally, 65 percent of respondents said that they save time by shopping online, and 55 percent like the lower prices. 39 percent are attracted by wide selections, and 36 percent like the quick delivery.

Conversely, 36 percent do not like the time it takes to receive their products, and 31 percent said that they have received merchandise that was not what the site represented.

Internet Not For Holiday Season Only

The study also showed that the majority of those on the Internet are likely to spend part of their online time shopping. 82 percent of online respondents have made a purchase on the Internet during the past 12 months.

Shopping was strong across all age groups, ranging from 85 percent for 35 to 44 years olds, to 67 percent of the over-65 group. Purchases were greater with higher income groups.

Additionally, almost 90 percent of those with an annual income over $75,000 had made a purchase on the Net over the past 12 months.

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