GTE's survey shows consumers satisfied with online holiday shopping experience.

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Releases Results
of National Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey

DALLAS, Texas - Fifteen percent of the total U.S. population shopped on the Web during the 1999 holiday season, compared to 7 percent in 1998, according to a recent national Holiday Online Shopping Survey by GTE's Although the number of online shoppers has doubled, the survey results indicate that the Internet and online retailers have potential to grow even more in 2000.

According to the survey, current online shoppers plan to do 40 percent of their holiday shopping online next year. Additionally, consumers with Internet access project they will do 21 percent of their shopping on the Web and consumers currently without Internet access reported that they plan to do 7 percent of their holiday shopping online in 2000.

"The survey results indicate increased comfort with shopping on the Internet, reinforcing industry expectations for significant growth during 2000," said Earl Goode, president of GTE Directories Corp. "This is good news for both online and traditional retailers who are effectively using the Web to attract customers."

The e-commerce shopping experience was largely a positive one to those who completed a transaction this season, with 84 percent1 reporting overall satisfaction with the online shopping experience. The popularity of online holiday shopping was based largely on the time-saving and convenience aspects of the experience. Ninety-five percent1 of the online holiday shoppers received exactly what they thought they ordered online.

"Like many online retailers and Web sites, traffic levels for's Shopping Pages were 66 percent higher during the holiday season," said Goode. "According to the survey results, the number of online shoppers will continue to grow, which is why traditional retailers and small businesses who are not yet optimizing the Web should be."

Despite consumers' high satisfaction with online holiday shopping, there is room for improvement. Eleven percent responded that the merchandise they purchased had to be returned. Online shoppers continued to express concern about using credit cards online with only half1 of online shoppers stating that they feel secure using credit cards online.

The items most often purchased online during the holiday season were books, movie videos, and music CDs, bought by three of every five online shoppers. Electronics and computer software were typically popular, along with clothing, toys and games. However, the least popular items included jewelry and cosmetics/perfumes, being purchased by less than 10 percent of online shoppers. Though not as popular, these categories proved to be lucrative for online retailers. Consumers who purchased jewelry or cosmetics/perfumes spent an average of 50 percent more than consumers who bought more common items.

"During November and December customers searched for a variety of products; surprisingly the most popular items were appliances such as televisions, dishwashers and home gym equipment," said Goode. "These findings illustrate the notion that consumers are not only using the Internet to buy, they are using it to search for products and locate retailers where they can purchase the product."

Of the online shoppers surveyed, the average shopper made 3.3 purchases through the Internet during the 1999 holiday season. Those consumers spent, on average, $353 for all their online purchases, which represented approximately 30 percent of their holiday spending.

1Questions asked of respondents were based on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 equals "completely disagree" and 5 equals "completely agree". Reported percentages are based on the proportion of respondents answering "4" or "5".

About the Survey

This survey was conducted by The Gallup Organization of Lincoln, NE and commissioned by GTE Directories Corp., Dallas, TX. A total of 2000 interviews were completed between December 16, 1999 and January 10, 2000. The sample was designed and weighted to be representative of the continental U.S. population of people aged 18 and over. A sampling error of 4.5% applies to the results.

About and GTE Directories Corporation

With more than 12 million businesses listed and tens of thousands of advertisers,, offered by GTE Directories Corp., is a rich, comprehensive shopping resource designed for people who want the convenience of finding information and purchasing products and services online. A leading Internet Yellow Pages and shopping site, has received as many as 4.5 million visits and conducted as many as 13.4 million Yellow Pages searches per month. According to Media Metrix, has received 29.7 million cumulative unique visitors in 1999.

GTE Corp.'s community and philanthropic programs target excellence in education, particularly math, science, technology and literacy. GTE also supports job training, delivery of health and human services, and the arts. The company's newest program is GTE Reads, a public charity designed to create public awareness, increase fundraising and support organizations dedicated to improving America's literacy levels. GTE customers can contribute to GTE Reads by checking off a box on their bill and all consumers can contribute through GTE's

GTE Directories is a part of GTE Corp., based in Irving, Texas. More information about GTE is available on the Internet at

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For a complete copy of the survey findings, contact Stacey Lammot at 310-288-5523 or

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