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Gift Switch: Consumers Now Prefer Online to Discount Department Stores for Gift Buys
Apr 18, 2012
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Just two years ago gift shopper still favored brick-and-mortar stores for their purchase, but a new report from Unity Marketing shows that online shopping venues are now consumers primary "go-to" destination for gift buying.

"Not too long ago, the conventional wisdom held that consumers might do research online, but they preferred to make purchases in physical locations that would allow them to leave with gift in hand," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the report. "Today, the opposite is true. Gifting consumers are looking for the convenience of being able to research and make a purchase without interrupting their day with a shopping trip. Combined with the ability of online shopping destinations to offer unique or special products that might be costly to offer in a physical store, this is a powerful reason for marketers to invest in their online presence."

The report, based on a survey of 1,939 recent gift buyers, shows that 52% of consider online sites to be their regular "go-to" destination for gift purchases, replacing discount department stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target. That's up from 39% in 2010.

When asked about special store features that make a destination more attractive for gift shopping, the stand-out trend in 2012 is the importance of online access, Unity Marketing reported.

Gift shoppers biggest need in a shopping destination is an easy and convenient shopping experience, which gives online shopping an advantage.

One of the biggest movers in the survey results in terms of importance is that retailers offer internet access to the products and services it offers.

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