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Consumers Go Online To Stretch Holiday

November 17, 2008

Budget in Tough EconomyLate nights spent surfing the internet may help credit-crunched consumers save cash this coming holiday season. According to Burst Media’s surveys of more than 3000 internet users ages 18 and older about expected use of the internet for the upcoming holiday season, economic woes quickly impacted consumers’ holiday spending plans. The Burlington, MA company found that the number of consumers who plan to spend less this holiday season increased in the four weeks between its August and September surveys.

In a statement, the company said that while it “cannot correlate this change with the economic climate, September data shows a significant shift from our earlier reading.”

The September survey findings showed that 33.8% of respondents expect to spend less on gifts and entertaining this holiday season compared to 2007—which was up from (26.9%) in the August survey. Slightly less than one-third will spend “about the same” as last year, 16.6% will spend more, and 18.9% are unsure of their 2008 holiday spending, according to Burst Media.

Other findings showed that moms 45 years and older will be more frugal, with 43.8% planning to cut holiday gift and entertainment spending. Men, too, appear to have been affected by the dismal Wall Street headlines. In the August survey, 21.5% of men planned to cut holiday spending. In September, that number rose to 32.5%.

Additionally, respondents reporting high household income planned to pull back their holiday spending. In September’s survey 39.3% of respondents reporting household income of $75,000 or more plan to spend less on gifts and entertaining this holiday season, compared to 25.3% in August.

According to Burst Media, consumers will be looking to stretch their dollars online. More than 55% of respondents expect to make a holiday gift purchase online, up from 48.8% who made an online purchase in 2007. Web prowlers will also use the internet to research potential holiday purchases, including comparing different retailers to find the best price, according to the company.

“Advertisers will need to redouble their efforts to reach consumers online,” said Chuck Moran, vice president of marketing for Burst Media. “In a very challenging holiday season the internet can serve as an effective medium to reach target audiences and maximize the efficiency of media budgets. Online media advertising also affords marketers the flexibility to quickly tailor advertising and offers for changing market conditions as they happen.”

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