E-Holiday Shopping Race Is Off And Running

Survey results from PC Data Online and Ernst & Young indicate that Internet buying increased in October for the second consecutive month, removing any doubt that the 1999 holiday gift-buying season has arrived.

“Our October numbers confirm the jump in both shopping and buying in September was no fluke,” said Cameron Meierhoefer, Internet research analyst PC Data Online. “The big gains this month can be attributed to early holiday shoppers.”

PC Data Online used a sample that includes 80,000 home Internet users. E-tailer sites are defined as Web sites where visitors can actually purchase products. 600 online e-tail sites are included.

Survey results confirm that the much anticipated 1999 e-holiday season began in October, with holiday gift categories such as toys, clothing and sporting goods moving quickly into the PC Data’s Top 20 Retail Sites.

Increase In Non-Gifts

It was not only gift buyers driving up the October numbers. Non-gift sites such as Ticketmaster.com, Drugstore.com and PlanetRx.com also experienced increases in shopping and buying.

“Whether it’s a response to the increase of dot-com advertising on television and radio or a growing comfort with shopping online, Internet users in October spent more money and bought more diverse items on the Internet in greater numbers,” said Meierhoefer.

Sites such as SmartKids.com (to number 7 from 26), eToys (up to 9 from 19) and fogdog.com (to 15 from 24) showed that the biggest gains can be attributed to holiday shopping.

Amazon.com held its position as top dog, with Buy.com, Ticketmaster.com, barnesandnoble.com and mothercare.com filling out the top five positions. Gap.com hit the number 10 spot after spending September at number 14.

Jcrew.com and landsend.com are set to enter the Top 20, sitting at number 22 and number 23 respectively.

Ernst & Young Survey Projects Strong Season

Ernst & Young’s finding were released in their Third Annual Online Retailing Report.

The survey consisted of approximately 1,200 online shoppers and found that the number of online shoppers should almost triple from last year. It also found that 59 percent of online shoppers are women, evidence that supports the growing trend of women shopping online.

Of these shoppers, the survey showed that the majority is middle-class, married with children and between 30-49 years old.

The Ernst & Young results support PC Data, revealing that the top categories are unchanged from 1998. Primary categories are still computers, books, toys, CDs and videos.

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