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New Online Holiday Shopper Demographics

Posted on 11.16.2006

Well, it's all starting to heat up now. Online holiday shoppers are undoubtedly beginning to burn up their screens and mouse pads searching for that perfect little something for Junior.

EMarketer has released a new demographic study, conducted by BIGresearch and sponsored by the National Retail Federation (NRF) that surveyed 7,623 US consumers over a one-week span in October of this year.

One interesting finding is that consumers who plan on buying online tend to be more affluent vs. those that plan on buying at retail locations, discount stores, department stores and specialty stores. Online shoppers are focusing on retail websites and specialty sites including clothing, toy and electronic stores.

Not surprisingly, the 18-34 year old demographic is the most likely to purchase holiday items online.

Some other findings:

  • 48.7% of male shoppers plan on purchasing online, compared to 45.5% of female shoppers
  • Apparel and appliances were the two most frequently researched items online before purchasing at a brick-and-mortar location
  • The top categories (in order) that female shoppers researched online were Electronics, Apparel, Appliances and Beauty Products (tied)
  • The top categories (in order) that male shoppers researched online were Electronics, Appliances and Home Improvement Items
  • Male shoppers were more likely to research sites such as Best Buy and CNET, while female shoppers were more likely to research using Wal-Mart and Overstock.

As far as search behavior during the holidays, consumers are more than three times more likely to start search using Google than the next most popular portal. Amazon is the top retail merchant for product research. Shopping search engines, surprisingly, where consumers can search for retailers and compare prices drew very little interest - CNET and BizRate each drew only a half percent of consumer responses.

While these findings apply to many large retailers and websites, it's worth noting these trends while you tweak your site for the holidays, paying close attention to who will be visiting your site.

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