Holiday e-shopping boosts offline sales

SAN FRANCISCO -- In yet another measure of how successful the 1999 online holiday shopping season was, a recent survey found that consumers spent as much as $7.2 billion online with Amazon.

SAN FRANCISCO -- In yet another measure of how successful the 1999 online holiday shopping season was, a recent survey found that consumers spent as much as $7.2 billion online with Amazon.com Inc. leading the pack.

Harris Interactive Inc., the newly public Web research firm, on Wednesday said consumers spent an additional $9 to $10 billion offline as a direct result of their online shopping during the fourth quarter.

The Harris poll found that about 30 percent of the more than 70,000 Internet users polled said they bought products in the store after shopping for the items on the Web. Two-thirds of online consumers surveyed said they used the Web to shop for a gift this holiday season.

The survey found the fastest growing market on the Web this holiday season was, of course, toys, which had about $300 million in sales for the quarter, an increase of 320 percent over the third quarter.

Toys R Us Inc. (NYSE: TOY) and eToys Inc. (Nasdaq: ETYS) each had about the same share of online revenue, Toys R Us' Web site struggled with customer satisfaction after it suffered some technical difficulties.

eToys' customers rated their online buying experience a 7.9 on a scale of 10 for overall customer satisfaction, while Toys R Us' online customers rated their experience as a 7.04.

eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) proved a big seller of toys, the survey found, with toy buyers spending $1 out of every $11 at the auctioneer's Web site, ranking it third in the toy category.

In the land of books
The Harris poll found that Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) was again the biggest winner of the season, capturing 10 percent of all online sales during the quarter. According to the survey, Amazon.com also took the lead in some new product categories.

"Amazon's strategy of leveraging its best-of-breed customer base into the new vertical markets appears to be highly successful," said Marc Engel, an analyst at Harris Interactive. "The holiday season shows that it does not take Amazon long to become dominant in a new market."

Amazon.com increased its dominance over Barnesandnoble.com Inc. (Nasdaq: BNBN) in the book-selling arena, generating more than 61 percent of all online sales, the survey found. The Seattle-based Amazon.com also overtook ColumbiaHouse.com, the online arm of the Sony Corp. and Time Warner Inc. joint venture, in the music and video market with more than 24 percent of sales.

Amazon makes consumer electronics inroads
Amazon.com also surpassed retailers like Sony and Value America Inc. in the consumer electronics category with more than 8 percent of the online market.

The Harris survey found that Amazon.com also improved its position in the online toy market, taking a 7.6 percent share and ranking fourth in the top list of online toy sellers.

Online clothing sales topped $700 million during the quarter, up more than 100 percent over the previous quarter, with U.S. retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc.'s Web site emerging as the online market leader, the Harris poll found.

Sales in consumer electronics rose 90 percent to $350 million, while online book sales approached $400 million and music and video sales reached nearly $300 million.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All