Many Americans have already started their holiday shopping, and increasing numbers are turning to the Internet for their gift purchases.

About 70 percent have started shopping, with 26 percent saying they will buy gifts online this year — up from just 4 percent in 1997. Young people (under age 34) are much more likely to buy online than other age groups, and those from higher income households are also more inclined to be online shoppers. Men and women are equally likely to shop online; however women are more likely to shop through mail order catalogs than are men.

Overall, 39 percent say they will purchase gifts via catalogs, the same percentage as four years ago. Women and baby boomers tend to prefer catalog shopping more than other groups.

"While the dot.com bubble in the stock market has burst, data show that the Internet as a shopping mechanism is continuing to grow, comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Now that we’re past the unrealistic hype, it is clear that more and more Americans are finding this is a useful too for avoiding crowds, finding the merchandise at good prices, and generally simplifying their lives."

More than half of Americans (57 percent) set a budget limit for holiday shopping, and not surprisingly this is highly correlated to household income. Fully 70 percent of those making less than $25,000 set a budget limit compared to less than half of those with an income of over $100,000 a year. Just over half of men set a budget limit on their gift buying compared to 61 percent of women.

Few Americans have changed their travel plans because of the terrorist attacks. Fully 86 percent say they have not changed or considered changing their plans, only 9 percent have actually changed plans because of the events of recent months.

Polling was conducted by telephone November 28-29, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.

1. Have you considered changing or have you changed your holiday travel plans in any way because of the events of recent months?

Yes, considered changing 4%
Yes, changed 9
No 86
(Not sure) 1

2. Have you already started your holiday shopping?

Yes 69%
No 31
(Not sure) -

3. Do you set a budget limit for your holiday shopping or not?

Yes 57%
No 42
(Not sure) 1

4. How much money do you think you will spend on holiday gifts this year? (Open Ended)

  <$250 $251-500 $501-1000 $1000+ (Dk/Ref)
30 Nov 01 15% 27 27 19 12
5 Oct 01 20% 32 25 13 10
12 Dec 97 18% 33 27 16 6

5. Will you buy any of your holiday gifts through mail order catalogs?

  Yes No (Dk)
30 Nov 01 39% 58 3
4 Dec 98 ±4.5% 46% 51 3
12 Dec 97 39% 59 2

6. Will you buy any of your holiday gifts over the Internet?

  Yes No (Dk)
30 Nov 01 26% 72 2
4 Dec 98 ±4.5% 16% 82 2
12 Dec 97 4% 94 2