Online shoppers probably aren't outpacing their mall-walking brethren this Christmas. In fact, if this year is like previous years, the Internet will be an enabler for Christmas shopping procrastinators, according to observers.
"Online attracts the catalogue mentality -- 'Can I get it shipped in time for the holidays?' -- so the first half of December is the peak for online," said Wendy Wheeler, vice president of marketing for OrderTrust in Massachusetts, an integrated order management service for e-commerce.
Last year, the busiest online shopping day was December 15, she said, noting that many Web sites guaranteed Christmas delivery for items ordered before December 20.
"Most people will want to have at least a week to make sure the Internet order arrives in time for the holidays," said Carl Ichikawa, general manager of Sears Wishbook.com and the Wish Book catalogue put out by retailing giant Sears, Roebuck and Co. He predicts December 16 and 17 will be the busiest online shopping days this year.