I.Merchants, E-Shoppers Happy with Holiday Performance

The holiday season left both online marketers and online consumers happy, according to a study from Shop.org and BizRate. Fifty-nine percent of the 86 i.merchants surveyed reported online holiday sales increases of at least 25% over the previous year. What’s more, 30% reported increases of at least 50%.

Among the 5,163 online shoppers surveyed, 89% said that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their Web shopping experience, up from 84% during the 2002 holiday season.

The majority of online marketers—59%–considered free shipping with provisions their most effective marketing promotion. Online-only sales were a distant second, with 27% citing them as the most effective promotional tool. Twenty-four percent said free shipping without conditions proved most effective.

As for which promotional vehicle drove the most business, 86% of marketers said it was e-mail promotions. Despite concerns about spam filters, 38% of marketers said their e-mail open rates had increased from the previous holiday season, while 14% said they had decreased.

Other effective promotional vehicles were search engine marketing (cited by 58% of marketers), affiliate marketing (50%), and print catalogs (37%).