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Americans are Increasingly Purchasing Holiday Goods Online

TV report transcript

The holiday shopping season in the United States has begun. The day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) marks the start of the holiday shopping season, as people scramble to buy gifts for family and loved ones. Many stores depend on the sales during this time of year for an economic boost. But Americans are not just hitting the malls to buy presents -- increasingly they are shopping online. And websites are doing their best to attract consumers.

Recent polls indicate one in five people is shopping online for the holidays this year. Websites are offering incentives, such as rebates, to entice consumers away from crowded stores. Suzanne Davidson is an online shopper.

"I can have a store five miles from me, and I will choose to buy it online instead of going there because of the rebates."

Traditionally, the weekend after Thanksgiving was been referred to as the biggest days of online shopping all year. This year online sales rose 100 percent on Thanksgiving Day. Sales on the day after Thanksgiving (Friday) rose 41 percent. Analysts say the rise is partly due to people becoming more Internet-savvy, and to an increase in high-speed internet connections at home.

Some shoppers, like Kelly McWhite, likes the perks and the gift ideas websites have to offer.

"It is much more convenient to try and do it online. I'll go into Yahoo Shopping and they have different ideas and a lot of the vendors offer free shipping."

And some people are combining online and bricks and mortar shopping -- they are using the net to find the best deals in stores. Sarah Leary is vice-president of the comparison shopping site,

"What we find is that people are coming online looking for the best product, and they want to find it from the best stores out there and this is really what is fueling a lot of the growth of comparison shopping sites."

Comparison sites let consumers compare prices for a specific product from many different retailers-- all with a click of the button. Online merchants say they want to get people to change their habits and shop online throughout the year. Online retailers also hope that they will be able to surpass the 18.5 billion dollars spent online last holiday season.