The number of online shoppers during the upcoming holiday season will nearly triple this year over last, with sales reaching $US12-15 billion, a "dramatic" increase, according to new research from Ernst & Young LLP.
A survey of about 1200 online shoppers found that 67 per cent will tackle at least 10 per cent of their holiday gift list online, compared to 23 per cent a year ago, while 19 per cent will handle at least half of their shopping in cyberspace compared to 4 per cent last year.
Market research forecasts of increases in the numbers of online shoppers aren't anything new or surprising, but what did take researchers back a bit was the sharp rise in the numbers who have accepted online holiday shopping as an option to slogging through crowds at shops and malls.
"It's a dramatic increase in just one year," said Stan Brown, Ernst & Young's national director of "e-tailing", the recently coined buzzword for electronic retailing.
Middle-income married women with children - harried lot that they are - will comprise the majority of those who take to their computers in search of gifts.