The majority of British consumers (53%) now prefer to split their Christmas shopping activity equally between online and offline sales, according to research from the UK-based incentive e-shopping portal GreasyPalm.
In the survey, 32% of consumers said they would be shopping "mostly online" before Christmas 2006 for their gift purchases. Only 15% said they still prefer to shop "mostly offline".
Factors driving e-sales
Almost half (48%) of those preferring to shop online said that their primary motivation was to save money, while 31% said they preferred to do so because it saved them time. The money-saving focus was further reinforced by 74% who said they would use a shopping comparison engine to find the cheapest prices.
But although time and money were the most popular reasons for online shopping, "no crowds" was the next most important factor, particularly for women (as 26% of women preferring to shop online gave this as their main reason, compared to only 13% of men).
Choice of retailer
The majority of online shoppers said they know exactly which retailers they wish to visit in order to make their purchases. More than half (61%) said they are decisive in making their online purchases, and undertake them in a short amount of time with a known retailer.
Only 39% of online shoppers are more distracted, being unsure which retailer they want to visit, and having lots of web browser windows open - and each gift purchase taking a lot more time to complete.
Shopping while they work
Many people admitted that they conduct at least some of their Christmas shopping online during working hours, when their boss is not looking. More than half (53%) said they had either shopped "sometimes" or "very often" during work time (not including lunch breaks).
Convenience is also a factor for e-shoppers, with 76% of people confirming that they usually make their holiday season purchases across a number of shopping trips, gradually building up a collection of gifts. According to Neil Durrant, marketing director for Submission Technologies (operator of GreasyPalm), the internet fits this approach well, and has been a great enabler of the fragmented shopping behaviour pattern.