Happier Holiday E-Spending Forecast

NEW YORK Consumers are expected to significantly increase their online shopping budgets during the holiday season, predicts a joint report from Goldman Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen/NetRatings.

The Holdiay eSpending Report, which is based on a weekly national survey of more than 800 Web surfers, revealed that the average person expects to spend 23 percent of their shopping budget on the Internet. That compares to an estimated 19 percent spent online last year.

The average person intends to use 70 percent of his or her shopping budget on purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, down from 74 percent in 2002. Budget allotment for catalog orders remains steady at 7 percent.

The Holiday eSpending Report also found that 67 percent of the survey population visited at least one e-commerce site last week, representing a 12 percent year-over-year increase.

“Convenience and the ease of comparing products and pricing are advantages that online retailers continue to have over stores: this year, increased category breadth and improved site usability are drawing seasoned and new shoppers alike to online commerce sites,” said Robert Leathem, director of commerce analytics at Nielsen/NetRatings, a part of Adweek parent VNU.