No Surprise: More Holiday Shoppers Shop Online

It is no great surprise that 2004 online holiday shopping exceeds 2003:
"In the first six weeks of the holiday season, which spans November and December, shoppers spent an estimated $16.7 billion online, according to a report by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive. Overall spending was up 28 percent from a year ago, based on survey data.

'You're seeing spending increase within each gift category as people become more comfortable with online shopping,' said Heather Dougherty, senior analyst with NetRatings, who attributed some of the rise in spending to greater broadband penetration among internet users at home. Merchants also succeeded in drawing former customers to their websites through e-mail promotions, she said.
Yes, penetration of the online channel continues; expanding in breadth and depth. Key question: What will emerge as the long-run system equilibrium point? Is there an optimal balance between online and offline channels for retail?

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