Figures are out for the online holiday shopping rush. Nearly nine in ten customers were satisfied with the service.
The Internet has become an integral part of holiday shopping. And it seems that the retailers who operate Internet sites as well as bricks-and-mortar stores have gained most. According to research from Jupiter Media Metrix, the seven traditional retailers among the top 15 shopping sites for the entire 2001 shopping season increased traffic to their sites by 73% over 2000, against an increase for all sites of 50%. According to Jupiter's VP of media research, Charles Buchwalter, "With a few exceptions such as Amazon, the dominant retailers that sell merchandise directly from their sites tend to be affiliated with bricks-and-mortar stores and catalogues."
Spending up too
And, according to the e-Spending Report by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings, actual spending was up 15% over last year. This difference is no doubt due to some shoppers simply "window shopping" on the Internet, others visiting several sites to finally make a purchase from one of them, or visiting a traditional retailer's site to research products and then making the purchase in its bricks-and-mortar store.
The good news for e-tailers is that overall customer satisfaction rose during the holiday season, with 86% of online shoppers surveyed saying that they were satisfied with their experience. Of those surveyed, 24% said that they had a better experience shopping on the Web this season compared to last year.
According to NetRatings' VP of analytical services, Sean Kaldor, "While 1999 was nearly a disaster for customer service online, most major problems had been addressed in 2000. With a 15% growth in spending this year, e-tailers were well prepared and able to deliver a consistent or even improved level of service in 2001. The future of e-tailing will depend heavily upon how well merchants are able to maintain this consistent satisfaction level despite varying levels of spending growth and in the face of increasing demands for profit."
Americans spent $13.8 billion online during the eight weeks in November and December, with consumers reporting that 13% of their holiday shopping budget was spent online.