Attention TV station sales departments

MediaDailyNews reports today on a new study by the online ad people at BURST! Media projecting a banner year for online holiday research and shopping this year. According to a survey of 47-hundred Web users, 93.6% expect to use the Web to research and/or purchase gifts during this year’s holiday season. 77 percent of those Web shoppers plan to make some holiday purchases online in December.

Income appears to affect the likelihood of Internet buying. The study finds that more than 30 percent of respondents with household income of $75,000 or more, and 27.3% of respondents with income of $100K or more, expect to purchase over half of their holiday gifts online. In contrast, 11.9 percent of those who earn less than $20,000 expect to buy more than half of their holiday gifts through the Web; one-third of those making under $20,000 will not make any online purchases…

…”Online shopping lets consumers be in four stores at once,” explains Ellen Tolley, spokesperson for the National Retail Federation (NRF). The organization’s 2003 eHoliday Mood Study found that 59 percent of retailers reported revenue boosts of 25 percent or more for the 2003 online holiday season.

This is important information for television station sales departments, because it underscores the need for a viable online presence to take advantage of the advertising that is sure to come from the biggest retail season of the year. A special holiday shopping section, with links to various online shopping sites — from bargains to specialities — is just one possibility. Local search is another.

Web surveys are notoriously easy to manipulate (where, for example, did BURST! find their respondents?), but these numbers are such that they simply cannot be ignored. The report also shows that the fear of using the Internet for shopping is easing, and that’s more good news for online buying and selling sites. The issue will always be there, but the knee jerk seems to have calmed a bit.

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