According to the 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey by Channel Advisor, 58% of consumers are very likely to purchase their holiday gifts online this year, a vast majority over the second runner-up, brick-and-mortar stores, at 41%.

Consumers are cautiously optimistic entering the 2010 holiday shopping season. Some 43% think the economy is rebounding, while 38% think it’s staying about the same. Only 18% of those surveyed, however, feel that the economy was declining. Regardless, 41% say that the state of the economy has not affected their shopping habits.

Other key findings:

  • Consumers are not as retail-name conscious as one may expect: 67 percent said they would purchase an identical product from an unknown store if the store offered a better value
  • Free shipping and best price are still most likely to influence consumers to purchase.
  • 92% of those surveyed say they read product reviews when considering purchasing a product.  Of the 92%, 46% have been influenced to purchase a product due to the reviews, and 43% have been deterred from purchasing due to negative reviews.
  • 90% of consumers are using Facebook, and 53% are using YouTube. LinkedIn claims third place with 38% and Twitter draws 24% usage in the social media field. 38% of those surveyed say they are open to making a purchase through a social site.
  • 10% of consumers have made a purchase from their mobile phone, and many consumers browse mobile sites while waiting in long holiday lines at brick-and-mortar stores.

Consumers’ opinions on how they determined the trustworthiness of an online retailer fell easily into 3 distinct answers. In ranking order:

1.   Consumers are looking for secure sites through third-party seals of approval. Whether it’s the McAfee secure logo or VeriSign Secured, consumer confidence is a necessity to convert shoppers to buyers. If the webstore was not a familiar brand, many consumers felt secure buying from a webstore that accepted PayPal.

2.  Reviews are crucial to the success of e-commerce strategy. One survey participant even said she searches for a company on Google to find more reviews and read about the company. A good shopping experience is critical to create repeat buyers and many customers turn to their friends and family for references,

3.  Consumers regularly look for a professionally designed website that portrays the business as established and trustworthy. One retailer earned 110% more traffic and 53% more revenue with the addition of a Premium Webstore.

Of consumers surveyed, 41% spent more last holiday season than the previous year, and 40% spent about the same. If those numbers are any indication of this year’s holiday season, 81% of consumers are planning to spend the same or even more this year.

[Source:  2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey.  Channel Advisor.  31 Aug. 2010.  Web.  6 Oct. 2010.]