Who needs packed malls and crowded streets? I have been doing my holiday shopping from the comfort of my own computer for years! According to an article by Bob Tedeschi in today’s NYT, almost a decade into the e-commerce era, the growth in online
holiday shopping shows few signs of slowing down. Fueled by Web searches for iPods, Elmos, gift cards and
video game consoles, among many others, online retailers are expecting
sales to increase by about 20% this year, or about the same
amount as in 2005.
This holiday season is likely to be
punctuated by more aggressive online promotions, new refinements in Web
merchandising and a continued migration of shoppers to online options. As retailers are smarter about marketing their sites, analysts
said, they could also emerge from this holiday season with more profits
than in years past.
In particular, Mr. Aiken said retailers were buying more ads on Google and Yahoo
than in years past, catching consumers at the point where a growing
number of them begin their shopping. But instead of bidding
aggressively for the right to display an ad on Google whenever someone
searched for something generic, like “toys” or “electronics,” Mr. Aiken
said retailers were buying ads alongside results of more specific
search terms, like “stuffed bears” or “brown Ugg boots,” which are more
likely to result in a sale.
Patti Freeman Evans, an analyst with
JupiterResearch, a technology consulting firm, said online sales this
year would reach the $100 billion threshold for the first time. Online
sales, she added, would probably constitute 6 percent of total holiday
Among sites offering promotions this last weekend, Delias.com, which sells apparel and accessories, offered $25 off, plus free shipping on orders of more than $75 through Nov. 30, Amazon offered $25 off orders of more than $150 through Dec. 1, and Nascar’s shopping site, Store.Nascar.com, offered 10% discounts on orders of more than $100 through Nov. 30.
Even in the absence of sales, and
occasional site glitches, consumers are growing more comfortable with
online shopping, analysts said, as they spend more time online and as
Internet merchants further refine their Web sites.