Holiday shopping shifts from mall to web

By Jane Chieco
December 1, 2005

As the cold air sets in and the holiday season approaches, many holiday shoppers are avoiding the high gas prices and have opted to shop from home.

More and more consumers are choosing not to drive to the mall this holiday season because they do not want to waste money on over-priced gasoline. Untold numbers are choosing online shopping instead and sitting back as the prices at the pump remain over $2 a gallon.

Analysts from Shopzilla, a unit of E.W. Scripps that compares Web prices, reports “40 percent of Internet shoppers have increased their Web purchases to save on gas.” People are busier than ever and find it tedious to get to the stores ahead of time to make their purchases.

As with every holiday season, crowds create a dilemma. People face the problem of fighting their way through lines, have crying babies, sweaty people and anxious mothers expecting to get their child the cream-of-the-crop and shoving their way to the must -have toy of the holiday season.

“I don’t want to go to the stores and have to rummage through messy piles of and clothing which people have thrown on the floor because they were in a rush to get their shopping done. It is too hectic at the stores,” said Andrea Mory, a freshmen who just purchased her brother’s birthday present online and plans to e-shop this Christmas.

“I would rather do online shopping because it’s an easy, one-step process. Do you know how much gas money you would be wasting by making all of those trips to the mall? No one is able to complete their Christmas shopping in one trip, shopping this season will waste many tanks of gas for some. I am just going to buy my gifts online,” freshman Samantha McMurray said.

Consumers argue that they do not want to take the time and would rather pay the extra five dollars in shipping and handling fees.

“It is just easier to find what you need online,” McMurray said.

Nevertheless, internet companies are working more efficiently and getting more sales than ever before. Many websites are opting to advertise free shipping during the holiday season.

“From a financial point of view, it is worth it to do a cost/benefit analysis,” Dr. Mary Harris, assistant professor of finance said.

There is a method to figuring out which is the most cost efficient option. “You would have to calculate how much you are saving in gas. The number of miles driven in total to shop divided by miles per gallon for your vehicle equals the number of gallons of gas used. Then take the number of gallons times the gas price. This would be your cost. Then you should compare it to the shipping cost of the goods that you are ordering, and one will find which solution will be the cheapest,” Harris said.

Yet some people remain indifferent and even reluctant to shop online for the upcoming holiday season.

“People have forgotten that shipping prices will probably increase because of gas prices going up. Packages still require vehicles to transport them, so they too will need gas to get places. Shipping will probably still be a little bit more expensive than usual so I will go to the stores,” freshman Christine Knopf said.

College students do not think adults will follow this increase in purchasing gifts via the Internet.

“I do not think the majority of older people will want to order online, because most seem to resist technology. Adults do not trust the Internet because they are afraid of bogus websites. It is also easier to see the items you want to buy in-person as opposed to online, because you cannot tell the true quality of the item if you are just browsing online,” freshman Michele Caravan said.

Upperclassmen at Cabrini have their own feelings about expected online sales for this holiday season.

Brian Smith, a sophomore English and communication major said, “I always thought people shopped online for better deals. However, the fact that gas is expensive is probably even more encouragement to shop in the stores. I think going to the mall would be more convenient because with online shipping, you have to wait for the presents to be shipped and received.

Sophomore Kristen McGowan agrees, she said, “The price of shipping a bulk of presents would be a lot more costly than driving to the mall and purchasing all of your presents there.”

Although it is predicted that the majority of holiday revenue will be made through e-shopping, consumer analysts will have to wait to see how many give in to two-click purchasing when it comes down to the last minute. Santa may not have time to run to the mall, or simply may be out of gas and he will not feel like wasting forty bucks for a full tank in his sleigh.

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Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Jane Chieco

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