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Not the young, but the rich most likely to shop online

You might think that younger tech-savvy Americans would be the ones who would favor shopping online for Christmas and other holiday presents. A new poll by Gallup, however, finds that it is the rich who are most likely to shop online.

"Americans with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more are significantly more likely than lower- and middle-income Americans to say they are 'very likely' to do at least some of their holiday shopping online," writes Joy Wilke for Gallup. "In fact, the Internet looks to be the most common place to find wealthier shoppers this holiday season, with more saying they will shop online than in department stores, discount stores and specialty stores."

Of people who make less than $30,000 a year, only 15 percent say they are "very likely" to shop online. Their greatest preference is for discount stores (43 percent) and department stores (38 percent). Those making $30,000 to $75,000 a year are more likely to shop online (34 percent), but about equally favor department and discount stores (41 percent and 42 percent).

The wealthy, those making more than $75,000 a year, have a whopping 50 percent who say they will very likely shop online. Next in their preference is department stores (43 percent), and the survey indicates a dropping to 32 percent for discount stores.

Sonya Sorich with the Sacramento Business Journal says, "The news comes as Internet retailers aim to continue the success of this year's Cyber Monday, which was 'the heaviest online spending day in history,' according to comScore, an Internet analytics company."

Douglas A. McIntyre, writing for 24/7 Wall St., says this gives another advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. "High dollar amount per purchase is a retail Holy Grail. If the logic is not too tortured, the rich spend more than the poor do — at least according to laws of consumer spending."

Signature9 tells where the wealthy are shopping online for clothes: "In terms of volume online, Macy's attracts more visitors earning $100,000+ than higher end department stores Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus combined."

Business of Fashion summarizes Signature9's infographic: "In fact, mid-range stores like Kohl's and JCPenney are reaching more affluent shoppers online than their luxury counterparts like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's and Saks. What's more, among the top 20 U.S. apparel sites attracting the largest number of wealthy online shoppers, 30 percent are flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La. If you include discounter, sites dedicated to price reductions represent a full 35 percent of the top 20."

What about those younger Americans? Shouldn't the smartphone-saturated demographic be the most likely to shop online?

According to Gallup, younger Americans ages 18 to 29 are about evenly split on where they want to shop for Christmas. Online, discount and specialty stores tie with 41 percent, with respondents saying they will "very likely" shop there. Department stores are almost the same at 45 percent. Older Americans, 65 and older, only show a 15 percent preference for online holiday shopping.


Twitter: @degroote