Survey finds more consumers to research holiday purchases online before buying

LOS ANGELES — Survey results released Tuesday by online shopping site PriceGrabber found that 88% of shoppers plan to research their holiday gift purchases in advance to find the best deals.

Of those, 38% plan to spend three to six hours researching holiday gift purchases, 29% plan to spend up to two hours, 19% said they plan to spend over 10 hours and 14% indicated between seven and 10 hours.

The results of PriceGrabber’s holiday shopping survey — which polled 2,235 U.S. online shoppers between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12 — also revealed that 50% of consumers plan to spend the same amount that they spent last year — up slightly from 48% in 2011 — and 12% plan to spend more.

For those who are spending less, the reason most given (62%) was due to increased prices for food, gas and other necessities.

Forty-one percent indicated that they are earning less money this year and 39% said they planned to spend less due to an increased acceptance of giving less-expensive gifts. The state of the economy also continues to impact consumers' holiday shopping decisions, with PriceGrabber's survey finding that 64% of shoppers say the economic climate will affect their overall spending.

Shoppers appear to be confident in their ability to find a holiday bargain this season. According to PriceGrabber's survey, 67% of consumers said they believe retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. When asked what retailer tactics will entice consumers to buy a product this holiday season, 77% indicated free shipping, 74% noted price cuts, 55% said coupons, and 44% indicated blow out sales.

"Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 59% of consumers plan to start shopping even earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, compared to 53% in 2011," said Rojeh Avanesian, VP marketing and analytics for PriceGrabber. "Our data indicates that 17% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in September and 31% plan to begin in October this year."

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