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Consumers Seek Less-Expensive Gifts on Discount Stores' Sites

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As holiday shopping enters the homestretch, consumers are not only going online to buy gifts, they are going online to hunt bargains via comparison shopping.

Among 2 million consumers surveyed in early December on their holiday shopping plans by market-research firm Compete, Boston, 42% said  they are spending the same as last year. “People say they are doing bargain shopping, price comparisons and they are buying fewer gifts,”  said Cynthia Stevens, director-marketing, Compete. More than half said they thought they could find the best deals online, rather than offline.

As consumers seek less-expensive gifts, they are frequenting discount stores online. Among the top retail sites cited by respondents were Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Target.com and Overstock.com. Some 42%  said they planned to shop at Walmart.com and 34% at Target.com.

Comparison shopping
Even if consumers actually purchase their gift in an offline store, they do their research for that purchase online, Compete’s research showed. “About 50% of people surveyed said even if they find a gift in a [brick-and-mortar] store that they want, they then go online to find the best price,” Ms. Stevens said.

Some 41% use the Internet first, going online to research and browse for the best holiday deals, and then end up buying the items in an offline store, the survey found.

In terms of online shopping activity, this year 25% or respondents are doing about half their shopping online.  Last year, only 8% did their holiday shopping online.    

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