Liz Tompkins has never liked holiday shopping. She can’t stand the crowd, and the lines are too long.
But this year is different: the 30-year old Massachusetts homemaker already has done shopping — on the Internet. Everything from a wool vest from the Brooks Brothers for her husband to a baby banjo from the e-Toys for her one-old. All without setting foot outside her house.
“Everybody envies”, Ms. Tompkins says.
It’s beginning to look like e-Christmas in the U.S. Because of Internet improvements, it’s now possible for many people to plan a whole holiday celebration — from food to decorations — without even leaving their chairs. A remarkable 43 % of Americans who use computers say that they are likely to shop on the Internet this holiday season. Last year, just 10 % bought Christmas goodies over the Internet.
Analysts expect that sales for the holidays will double last year’s. That’s still less than 1 % of the nearly $ 500 billion that American consumers will spend this Christmas, but it’s not too bad. Even such a huge company as Gap Inc. put its Web address (www.gap.com) on its store windows. “ This is the year of the Internet for sure”, says Jill Frankie, an analyst at International Data Corp.
Of course, this is only the third holiday season for electronic commerce — and it works, especially in Europe. Last year, for example, such big companies as
Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Visa Inc. attempted e-Christmas shopping in Europe that was not successful. Despite a wide selection of goods from 130 different European stores and decent marketing, there were only 225 visitors, who bought goods at total value of about $ 20, 000.
What are the reasons? These are low computer penetration and high prices for telephone calls. Vast numbers of Europeans, after all, have never entered the Net, while those who do attempt to shop online face high taxes and import regulations, language difficulties and slow technology.
homemaker — домохозяйка
vest — жилет
to envy — завидовать
celebration — празднование
consumer — потребитель
commerce — торговля
selection — выбор
decent — приличный
value — ценность, стоимость
penetration — проникновение
to penetrate — проникать
regulation — правило
e-Christmas — зд. празднование Рождества через Интернет
the e-Toys — зд. фирма по продаже игрушек через Интернет