Last-minute shoppers give e-tailers big boost
Dec. 30, 2001
By JIM BROOKS
Many online merchants are feeling a jingle in their pocket from
higher-than-expected Internet sales.
The hot gift items this year -- PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox game
consoles, and anything connected with Harry Potter among them -- were
strong sellers as shoppers who couldn't find items turned to the
Internet for their purchases.
BizRate, a comparison shopping Web site that surveys more than 1,500
stores and retail chains, reported online sales were up by 36 percent
this year over last.
Online retailers offered incentives like free or discounted shipping.
Some online stores with real-world stores allowed shoppers to buy
online and then pick up the items at a nearby store, thereby avoiding
any shipping delay.
BizRate reports the holiday sales from Nov. 19 to Christmas totaled
about $6.4 billion. That figure is supported by Jupiter Media
Metrix's new survey that show e-commerce Web sites were some of the
most popular spots on the Internet during the same period.
Jupiter's Top 20 most popular holiday shopping Web sites included
some of the biggest e-commerce sites, including eBay.com, Amazon.com,
barnesandnoble.com, bestbuy.com, dell.com, toysrus.com, target.com,
walmart.com, CDNow.com and JCPenney.com.
And in the post-holiday period, online retailers are using the same
technique offline retailers use to clear excess inventory -- discount
BizRate.com has an entire section of its Web site devoted to
post-holiday sales, with links to the clearance areas of major
Clearly, online shopping hasn't replaced the shopping experience, but
some e-tailers are learning what it takes to attract and keep
And even if Web sites aren't actually selling products, manufacturers
are seeing the benefit of putting their products online so potential
customers can do their research before making a purchase.
PALM NEWS. If you own a Palm or like me, received one at
Christmas, you may be pleased to hear that Palm has released a public
beta version of its Palm Desktop Software 4 for the Mac OS X
The older versions of the Palm software for Macs works with Mac OS X,
but the new program was created to work specifically with the latest
Apple operating system.
Users can download the Palm software at no charge, though they must
first complete a questionnaire.
As with all beta software, Palm offers no technical support or
warranty. There may still be bugs in the software, but users can
report problems to Palm via a feedback form.
FUND-RAISER FALLS SHORT. EBay.com has ended its Auction for
America fund-raiser well short of its goal.
EBay's goal was to raise $100 million in 100 days for the families of
those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
EBay users were encouraged to donate the proceeds of auction items to
the fund-raising effort -- and many people did, totaling $7 million
dollars in all, and including corporate sponsors that included AOL
Time Warner, Microsoft and Pepsi.
EBay started the fund-raiser just days after the attack in response
to New York Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani's calls for
help for victims and their families.