Patrick Gates, Sr. VP of AOL E-Commerce

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 28, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

TERRY KEENAN, HOST: Well, also debuting this weekend, a little holiday shopping. My next guest says that while shoppers are gobbling up goods, you may not be seeing them in the stores jammed with people. Shoppers are staying home this year, he says, but they’re still spending.

E-tailers gearing up for big business as consumers take their shopping carts online. Joining me now is Patrick Gates, senior vice president of AOL’s e-commerce department.

Patrick, welcome. So how big are online sales going to be this year?

PATRICK GATES, SR. VP, AOL E-COMMERCE: Well, the industry analysts are saying that this year it could be up anywhere from 25 to 40 percent. And if you are talking dollars, between Thanksgiving and December 25, that could be as much as $12 billion in sales.

KEENAN: And what are some of the hottest sites this year?

GATES: Well, still the tried and true, Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) are still great sites. But we’ve seen some new sites come up. We are seeing Smart Bargains, we are seeing Overstock (OSTK), we’re seeing Redenvelope (REDE). You know, sites that have great deals, great advice and connecting shoppers to cool merchandise.

KEENAN: So it also shows then that consumers are confident enough about their online experience to try some new retailers.

GATES: Yes. We see the average transaction online going up every single year. You know, this year, on average, people are spending over $200, in some cases. That means they are comfortable.

The other thing is, big brands are going online, and so folks trust these brands. They do business with them every day, so buying online from them is not a big deal at all.

KEENAN: What is driving the online traffic right now? Is it more the ease of using the Web or the speed and the fact that people have more high- speed access now?

GATES: Convenience, convenience, convenience. It is always about that. People don’t have the time to go into stores anymore. They find it a lot easier to shop online.

And you know, stores are giving them incentives to shop online. And you find that really savvy retailers connect their catalogs, their stores and their online strategies to make it easier for consumers.

KEENAN: It is a fairly short holiday shopping season, less than four weeks to Christmas. Does that help or hurt the e-tailers?

GATES: Well, that actually helps. People have less time to go into stores. And also, you know, with shipping being as good as it is today, people can shop right up until almost the last day before the holiday.

KEENAN: All right. That’s going to bring us to our next guest. Thanks, Patrick. Patrick Gates

GATES: Thank you.

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