Online Holiday Shopping Starting Earlier This Year; New Report from NextCard Reveals Online Holiday Spending Intentions

Online Holiday Shopping Starting Earlier This Year; New Report from NextCard Reveals Online Holiday Spending Intentions

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SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 23, 2001

Online retailers will benefit from an early start of holiday sales, according to a new report by online credit card issuer, NextCard (Nasdaq:NXCD). The NextCard eCommerce Intentions survey found that nearly one third (32 percent) of online shoppers will begin their online holiday shopping before November. According to the survey, Amazon.com will be the clear winner among online retailers with nearly half of all online shoppers (46 percent) intending to shop there this holiday season. Consumers are sticking with the traditional selection of gifts with books, CDs/videos and toys/games representing the top three picks.

“We expect that Amazon.com will capture the lion’s share of online holiday spending, although eBay, BarnesandNoble.com and the major discounters should also chalk up significant sales,” said Scott Lascelles, group vice president of loyalty marketing at NextCard. “Amazon.com’s top showing is consistent with its performance on the NextCard eCommerce Index, where it has been the number one online retailer for more than two years.” The monthly NextCard eCommerce Index monitors online consumer spending by over one million credit card holders.

Who will shop and how much will they spend?

Nearly one in five (19 percent) shoppers will spend between $101 and $250 for their online holiday purchases. Nineteen percent will spend between $250 or more for online gifts this year. Almost one quarter (23 percent) will limit their online spending to $100 or less.

Men and women have different expectations for shopping online. More men (66 percent) than women (56 percent) will shop online this holiday season. Similarly, more men expect to spend $250 or more for their online holiday purchases (23 percent versus 15 percent of women).

The majority (54 percent) of online shoppers expect to spend up to 20 percent of their overall holiday budget online. “This was a surprising finding when you consider the fact that online retailing represents a small fraction of the overall retail industry. We think this is a strong indication of the increasing comfort people have with shopping online,” said Lascelles.

Men will devote more of their holiday budget to online stores than women, with 49 percent of men expecting to do 20 percent or more of their shopping online compared to 41 percent of women.

When will they shop?

The NextCard eCommerce Intentions survey found that almost two thirds (61 percent) of online shoppers will shop before mid November, indicating a desire to take care of holiday shopping well before Thanksgiving. Almost one third (32 percent) of online shoppers will be early-bird shoppers, starting before November. However, the majority (58 percent) will begin shopping in November, with more than half of these (29 percent of total respondents) shopping in the first two weeks of the month. More than one in ten (13 percent) will hold off until December.

More women will be true early-bird shoppers, with 41 percent beginning before November, versus 25 percent of men starting early. The biggest procrastinators are men aged 18-34 (19 percent of them), who are planning their online shopping for the first half of December.

Where will they shop?

Amazon.com is the clear favorite of online shoppers with nearly half (46 percent) intending to spend a portion of their holiday budget at the online retailer. eBay is second (24 percent) and BarnesandNoble.com is a close third (21 percent).

The major discounters, Walmart.com, JCPenney.com and Target.com take up the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively, although they will be more popular with women than with men. Twenty two percent of women and 15 percent of men will shop at Walmart.com; 21 percent of women and 11 percent of men will shop at JCPenney.com and 18 percent of women and 12 percent of men will shop at Target.com.

“Amazon.com has clearly established itself as a reliable retailer with consumers,” said Lascelles. “This has translated into strong loyalty among online shoppers. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the traditional discounters can continue to make respectable gains and close the gap with Amazon.com.”

What gifts will they buy?

Books will top the online gift list this year, with CDs/videos and toys/games as the next most popular choices. Almost half (48 percent) will purchase books online; 41 percent CD/videos, and 41 percent toys/games. “Of all the product categories, consumers are most comfortable buying books online. Amazon.com will continue to be popular because it makes buying books extremely easy and offers a wide selection,” said Lascelles.

Rounding out the top ten gift choices are:

Clothes and accessories 36 percent

Gift certificates 24 percent

Gifts for home/garden 24 percent

Consumer electronics 17 percent

Computers and software 17 percent

Food/wine 9 percent

Beauty and health items 8 percent

Books top the list for men (50 percent), while toys/games will be the main purchases for women (47 percent).

Why will they buy holiday gifts online?

Convenience is the main selling point for online holiday shoppers this year. Almost half (47 percent) cite the ability to shop whenever they want as the primary reason for shopping online. Avoiding crowds at stores was a distant second (14 percent) and saving time was third (11 percent). Saving money was a very low priority with only 8 percent citing this as their primary reason.

“Interestingly, 10 percent will shop online this holiday season in order to send gifts to family and friends who do not live close by. If anxieties brought on by terrorist events continue to impact people’s desire to travel, we expect to see more people shopping online for this reason,” said Lascelles.

About the survey

NextCard commissioned Harris Interactive to carry out the survey of 2,412 online shoppers on October 2 and 3, 2001. An online shopper was defined as someone who had ever made a purchase online. To ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the total online population, completed interviews were weighted by known norms of the national online population. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.0 percent.

About NextCard

NextCard, Inc. (www.nextcard.com) is considered the leading issuer of credit cards on the Internet. Launched in 1997, the Company was the first to offer instant online credit card approval, a choice of customized credit card offers, and exceptional online customer service. NextCard is one of the leading direct marketers on the Internet, operates a network of more than 90,000 online affiliates, and has exclusive card relationships with leading online brands, including Amazon.com and MyPoints.com.

NextCard was named the No. 1 Internet credit card by Gomez. According to the 2001 Brittain Associates “Credit Cards on the Net” study, NextCard leads the online credit card market with a 26 percent share. NextCard was nominated for a 2000 Webby Award in the finance category. NextCard, Inc. issues credit cards through NextBank N.A., a wholly owned subsidiary.

THE SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995. Information contained herein as to NextCard’s expectations and goals are forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ from those projected in these statements due to portfolio characteristics, economic conditions, competition in the industry and other factors detailed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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