How Much Of Your Holiday Shopping Will Be Online?

Don’t know about you but I finished 90% of my holiday shopping this weekend, and all from the comfort of my couch.

No lines, no trampling, no parking lots and (in many states) no sales tax. What isn’t there to love about shopping for holiday gifts online?

And yet, millions of people still fill the retail stores every year. It’s not like they don’t know about online shopping; they just prefer to do it in person.

That’s why we wanted to get an idea from you, dear Consumerist readers, of just how much of your holiday shopping dollar will be spent at e-tailers. So give us your response in the poll below and tell us why in the comments.


Edit Your Comment

  1. dragonfire81 says:

    Having family and friends in Canada, California and Texas, Amazon direct shipping is my friend.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      Two words: Amazon Prime. Although, I also check other sites too for some of the more unique items, or if I feel the price is a bit steep. NewEgg for electronics, Steam for games if your recipient also uses it, Google for price checking in general. The one thing I am wary of buying online is jewelry, but I’ve had some good luck at QVC (online). However, do not, I repeat under any circumstances, do not buy jewelry at Overstock! It’s cheap stuff fit for a young child maybe, though even then I’d be worried about the lead and cadmium percentages in the metal.

  2. Teki says:

    A majority will be. I just don’t enjoy the 30 mins to find a parking spot in the mall, and the 30 min line to get of of the mall.

  3. MrBryan says:

    You kind of lose the spirit of the season by simply clicking a mouse for everyone. You can’t find a heartfelt, meaningful gift if you don’t leave your living room.

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      Really? My father is getting whiskey he loves and never buys for himself, my mother is getting kitchen toys she’s wanted for years, and my husband is getting a newly released book about Sondheim and an awesome clock with equations in place of numbers. How would these be more meaningful if I had bought them in brick and mortar stores?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I completely disagree. The spirit of giving is the giving itself, and the thought behind carefully choosing a gift – choosing it online is, IMO, even more thoughtful in many cases because there are more options to choose from. Whether you do that online or in the store doesn’t change the fact that you put a lot of thought into the gift. I gain nothing but frustration by having to go to the store, fight for parking, maneuver through the masses, just to get to a store and hope that what I want is available.

    • Ouze says:

      Approximately zero percent of the “spirit of the season” for me is being herded like cattle in overpriced, overcrowded stores to squabble over items that are more expensive then amazon, have a poorer selection, usually have worse return policies, and charge tax to boot.

      • Leksi Wit says:

        Let’s not forget the apathetic and/or disgruntled-overworked-stressed-recently-hired-so-they-don’t-know-anything-helpful employees you will inevitably encounter on your journey.

    • mac-phisto says:

      bullcocky. if anything, i can find a better gift b/c i’m not limited by what’s available in B&M stores. great examples: a relative is a middle school science teacher who loves her job, so a couple years back i got her a lab coat embroidered with her name & a beaker/coffee mug. nobody sells stuff that specific in the mall – not even those discovery stores.

      just b/c i buy my gifts w/ a mouse doesn’t mean i don’t put a lot of time & effort into finding a great gift.

    • theycallmeGinger says:

      I disagree with your absolute stance on it, because if you know what you want to get, it doesn’t matter the source. Online stores are usually more unique than mall stores. However, too many times I’ve been stuck online or in stores, trying to find an idea by browsing the inventory. Then I’ll buy something that’s sorta cool but doesn’t necessarily fit the person I’m buying it for. If I’m not sure what to get, I stay the hell away from the mall and go to some local stores that have handmade, unique, and/or artistic items. I live in an artsy-fartsy college town, so that’s easier for me than most, but these little shopping villages can be found.

  4. somedaysomehow says:

    If I could have done it all online, I would have! I got nearly everyone this weekend, but I couldn’t justify paying twice as much for something online than in a brick and mortar store… It’s not that the same item is twice as expensive, it’s that it’s a cheaper version that just isn’t sold online. It’s for someone I’m not particularly fond of, so quality doesn’t really matter. ;)

    And then I forgot one person… so I’ll probably pick her up something while I’m out.

  5. Portlandia says:

    I got two of Best Buy’s doorbuster items online from home on Thanksgiving day…and free shipping.

    Most of my family lives far away so I have to ship anyways, amazon has been great! Virtually all my shopping is done!

    Can’t beat online shopping!

  6. RandomHookup says:

    Just be like me and have no friends. Holiday shopping becomes really easy…

  7. JulesNoctambule says:

    I’ll be buying a few things on line (mostly from small businesses, not places like Amazon), but most of my shopping will be done locally.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    For the second year in a row, 99% of our Christmas shopping gets done without us stepping inside a mall. I hate going to the mall during the holidays because people there tend to drift into their own little world, and there’s nothing more irritating than getting stopped by a wall of people who don’t understand that there are other people in the mall who need to get their shopping done too.

    And if you absolutely insist that I have to get you a gift that you can return at a phyiscal store, fine. I’ll grit my teeth and do it. But everyone else can just deal. I can get better deals online, and I can do it all without dealing with a ton of people.

    • George4478 says:

      >>And if you absolutely insist that I have to get you a gift that you can return at a phyiscal store, fine.

      Or, even better, get the demanding jerk nothing at all. It’s a win-win!

    • Ela Darling says:

      If you absolutely insist that I have to get you a gift that you can return to a physical store, I think you’re missing the point. Macaroni necklaces and construction paper tree ornaments for you until you appreciate the concept of “it’s the thought that counts.”

      • Outrun1986 says:

        That person would get money or a gift card, or just nothing if they were going to act like that. Much easier than the hassle of trying to pick a gift for them, which they will probably hate anyways. Some people you just can’t satisfy.

  9. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I don’t have any money, so I told my family not to get me anything because I won’t be getting them anything. I don’t like when they give me stuff when I can’t reciprocate.

    • ArcanaJ says:

      In this we are siblings. Broke siblings, mind you, but siblings nonetheless. Now stop hogging all the ramen or I’ll tell Mom.

  10. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    For the past several years, we’ve been trying to buy local for the vast majority of our Christmas shopping. We have a lot of great options — local glass blowers, ceramic shops, vineyards, goat farms, beef shares, etc.

  11. scoccaro says:

    Living on an island, there arent a lot of malls that are close by so I kind of have to do my shopping online. I also find more unique things online than I would at the tourist traps in the area.

  12. hills says:

    Finished up last week – and apple was nice enough to credit back the price difference in the ipad when it was on sale Black Friday…
    Spent Friday opening boxes and gift wrapping, then mailing off presents…. done!

    Free Shipping from – apple, williams-sonoma, amazon, ll bean, the gap, lululemon, pandora, borders…

  13. snowtires says:

    100%. There’s nothing that can’t be found for less money online, than in a store. When you factor in places with no sales tax and free shipping, and the fact that you don’t have to deal with people, checkout lines and parking lots, retail stores can’t compete.

  14. 339point4 says:

    I’m doing about 90% of it right now. Yay for Cyber Monday!

  15. webweazel says:

    Having family spread out all over the country, and people/households hard to shop for, I send food goodies like cakes or cookies as the main presents from Amazon. Food always “fits”! HA!
    I do usually have some small wrapped gifts I purchase throughout the year and ship them to some family members, along with photos or other small items in the box. I ship through the post office usually. I do the shipping postage online and just hand it to the mail carrier.
    I barely step foot in a store anymore for holiday shopping. Makes me happier overall.

  16. ssm316 says:

    Pretty much 95% is coming from amazon.

  17. tz says:

    A few things are easier locally or the order would be small so shipping adds up fast – a %5 item can sell for $1, but with $4.99 shipping?.

    Still many sites are WORSE than going out. Here are tips for vendors during the rest of the season or next year:

    1. If you are emailing specials, I’m using a text only or otherwise limited email viewer because of malware. Give me a link to a full copy of the page with images. Try to put text in the ALT= image links if you really want me to pay attention. Do tell me when the deals expire. Nothing is worse than having delayed mail with a pre-expired good offer.

    2. On the site itself, let me control the browsing. One place where I will buy nothing from has all the category links as javascript so I can’t right-click and open say 3 of the 20 categories in new tabs – it will only permit me to replace the current page with the category page. Do this and I click close and unsubscribe.

    3. Put contact info, terms and conditions, and shipping where they are easy to find. If I miss something, shame on me, but if no one could find some even reasonable term after looking hard, shame on you. If I can’t figure out shipping before the checkout I often won’t checkout.

    4. For clothing, insure your size charts are relevant and something I can understand. “Extra Large” can mean anything from 44″ chest to 50″. Give it in inches. If you sell gloves, hats, or jumpsuits, what is “medium” – I’m built much wider than average for my height so I have to compensate as it is, don’t make it harder. Also state the fabric material and care information – it is required to be on the garment, so don’t just tell me it will feel soft and is easy to care for.

    5. For some gadgets or tools, show or state the size, or put it next to a quarter or other common object. If I’m getting pliers, I need to know if they are sized for fine jewelry or a truck.

    6. If you are going to bother with pop-up pictures, don’t simply popup the thumbnail. Give a megapixel image so I can actually see some detail. You don’t have to bother with flash, but why bother making an image clickable if I get the exact same image of the same size in a different window.

    7. Cut the multimedia crap. Even if the flash or HTML5 picture viewer isn’t slow in itself, they are usually so badly written that they need to download 5 megabytes per picture in sequence so it will be a minute or two before I can see picture 6. Simple is better and I don’t want to be entertained, sold, be a fly buzzing around the ginormous object, I want some specific piece of information. Brick and Mortar stores don’t send out a chorus line and break into several minutes of song when I ask a clerk if something comes in a different color.

    • Ayanami says:

      Please allow me to add one. If the item is electronic in nature (music player, computer, etc.) please list ALL specs that you can get your hands on, this is especially true of computers. The internal parts are so homogenous now that I really only shop on specs, please give them to me in abundance.

  18. DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

    We have an outlet mall near our house, so we like to get clothes there, especially for kids. Other than that, it just frustrates me to shop for something knowing that somewhere else probably has it for cheaper. We’re getting the same CD for two of our kid relatives, and we were at Target last night and they had one copy for $17.99. (It has a DVD included, so that seemed a reasonable price.) Then I went home and checked Amazon and it was $12.99! Plus we got some other things so it was free shipping. Wonder which nephew gets the more expensive version?

  19. AT203 says:

    I’m a student and finals are mid-december. So I’m freaking out right like, like every year. I got free Amazon prime because of the .edu deal, so a lot of my shopping will be on Amazon. Even though I live in a state that collects sales tax.

  20. HoJu says:

    I have like 6 order confirmation emails from Amazon in my inbox. I delete them when the item arrives and I have prime so I think a lot of mine is online.

  21. ellemdee says:

    Thanks to Amazon Prime, I’ve finished about half of my shopping in the last week without having to deal with crowds. I plan to do as much of my shopping online – or at least away from malls – as possible.

  22. Cicadymn says:

    I’ve got to locally get my dad a new pipe from a fantastic pipe/tobacco shop around here. It’s kind of tradition for me to get him one every year.

    Used to only occasionally smoke cigars, one christmas I went out on a limb and got him a pipe from this local shop. HE FREAKING LOVED IT. Uses it all the time. So I get him a different one every year. Always looking for good tobaccos to let him try out as well.

  23. truth_cuts says:

    I have not stepped foot in a mall or brick and mortar store!! and have zero intentions on doing so.

  24. Ayanami says:

    All. I don’t have time to go shopping at B&M stores, and don’t enjoy it anyway, so I don’t do it. If the B&M’s made the experience less painful I’d shop at those types of stores but it’s just too much hassle and bother.

  25. I just blue myself says:

    I went the online route last year and ended up spending WAY more than I originally intended. This year I am locking myself out of Amazon and going to the (strip) mall.

  26. Horselady says:

    I enjoy the freedom of not shopping at all………….woo HOO!

    I think it’s great if you enjoy it,
    but for so many people it’s become
    a big burdensome obligation.