'Tis the season for online buying

'Tis the season for online buying

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.

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