In the run up to Christmas more than eight out of 10 holiday shoppers will go online for holiday gifts, and 80 per cent are likely to purchase gifts online from small businesses, according to a poll published today.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) of shoppers polled will do at least half of their holiday shopping online.
In addition, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said that online 'speciality' or 'niche' retailers are the 'best places' to shop for unusual or hard-to-find gifts.
The nationwide survey of 1,813 US adults suggested that holiday shoppers look to small online retailers for unique, distinctive gift items, and a large majority are likely to buy gifts online from small companies.
"Holiday shoppers are ready and willing to buy gifts online from small businesses that offer variety and value," said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business.
"The results are an encouraging confirmation that small business e-commerce has become an integral part of the holiday shopping experience for many consumers."
Nearly four out of five holiday shoppers would change their shopping habits if petrol prices remain high or climb higher during the holiday buying season.
Asked how they might change, many shoppers indicated that they would be on the road less and on the web more.
Almost three in five holiday shoppers said it was important that their favourite speciality or gift stores have an online presence. Seventy per cent said they had no preference between shopping online with small versus large businesses.
Shoppers stated that the key reasons they would shop for holiday gifts online with small businesses include convenient hours, avoiding crowded car parks and the ability to find the 'right gift'.
Greg Sterling, an analyst at Kelsey Group, said: " This data confirms that small business retailers need to be in front of online consumers as they use the internet to shop for products during the hectic holiday season.
"Consumers clearly want what small retailers have to offer and those who can't be found online are missing a significant potential opportunity."
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