Online holiday shopper satisfaction rising

And spending through December 11 is up 19% from '06 levels

Holiday shoppers are more satisfied with their recent online shopping experiences than they were at the same time last year, according to the latest ForeSee Results Holiday Retail Benchmark.

ForeSee scored online shopper satisfaction at 77.6 on a 100-point scale for the week of December 3-9, 1.7% higher than the previous week and 3.3% higher than the same week in 2006. The data was collected from more than 54,000 visitors at more than 40 retail Web sites, ForeSee said.

"Customer satisfaction has rebounded to preholiday levels, a very encouraging trend for the 2007 holiday shopping season," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, said in a statement. "The combination of retailer readiness for the holiday rush and positive reaction to promotions has resulted in robust satisfaction, which should spell strong results for the holiday season and beyond."

Happy holiday shoppers are more likely to make purchases online as well as in brick-and-mortar stores or through catalogs, ForeSee said. This year, online shoppers are 4.6% more likely to make purchases online and 4.1% more likely to buy offline than they were during the same week in 2006, according to ForeSee.

"The Web this year has truly come into its own as an integral channel to drive sales beyond the virtual world," said Freed. "Retailers have successfully integrated the Web into their multichannel strategy, so that it's a better sales channel and a better tool for increasing store and catalog sales."

According to ForeSee, many consumers who don't buy anything from a particular retailer online -- even after they've put items into their shopping carts -- plan to shop offline with the same retailer. This season, shoppers who abandon their online shopping carts are 8% more likely to make an offline purchase from those retailers, which means those sales are not really "lost," according to ForeSee.

On a related note, online holiday spending is also up from last year, according to comScore. For the first 41 days of the shopping season -- from November 1 to December 11 -- consumers spent more than US$20 billion. That's up 19% from the same time last year.

And on December 10, or "Green Monday," online shoppers spent US$881 million, up 33% from the same time last year, according to comScore. That was the heaviest online spending day in history, comScore said.

The term "Green Monday" was recently coined by eBay to describe the second Monday in December as the heaviest online spending day of the season.

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Linda Rosencrance

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