Thursday, November 17, 2005

Yahoo Survey Has Good News For Small Online Retailers

Holiday shoppers will look toward small online retailers for unique gifts this holiday season, according to a report released Wednesday by Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news)'s small business unit.

The survey is an attempt to gauge how online shoppers in America plan to purchase things for the holidays, said Jimmy Duvall, director of eCommerce products for Yahoo Small Business. "This gives our merchants a sense that people are very interested in shopping online and they plan to do so this year," he said.

The Web survey suggests 83 percent of participants said they would shop for holiday gifts online, and 80 percent said they are likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses, said the survey.

Nearly, 30 percent of holiday shoppers polled said they will do at least half of their holiday shopping online. In addition, nearly 63 percent said online specialty or 'niche' retailers are the best places to shop for unusual or hard-to-find gifts.

Higher gasoline prices could prompt push online sales higher, according to the survey. If gas prices at the pump remain high, 79 percent said they would change their shopping habits during the holiday buying season. Asked how they might change, many shoppers indicated they would be on the road less and on the Web more.

Surprisingly, 59 percent of the survey participants said it was important their favorite specialty or gift stores have an online presence. Seventy percent said they had no preference between shopping online with small versus large businesses.

Survey participants, 75 percent, said the key reasons for holiday gift shopping online with small businesses are convenient hours. Others indicated they didn't have to deal with crowded parking lots and could find the perfect gift. Only 5 percent indicated low prices as a

Yahoo on Tuesday launched a new shopping site were online visitors can create their own list of products and add reviews and pictures. Laura Merling, executive director at non-profit consulting firm SDForum, which focuses on emerging technologies, said consumers will see more companies use targeted search technology this holiday season. Yahoo, which garners a transaction fee between .75 percent and 1.5 percent for each sale, hosts Web sites for more than 35,000 small businesses. They run the gamut from the small home-office business to those that sell apparel online such as goclothing.com .

Harris Interactive fielded the study on behalf of Yahoo! Small Business from October 25-27, 2005, through its QuickQuery online omnibus, interviewing 1,813 U.S. adults age 18 and over who plan to do any holiday gift shopping.

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