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Shopping Online Makes Holidays Happy for Many

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RALEIGH — Almost half of all Americans who own computers plan to shop from home this holiday season, predicts a Harris Poll. Those online shoppers represent a 300 percent increase over last year.

Mike Flagg believes in online shopping. He says he hasn't purchased anything in a mall in two or three years.

Mike says he doesn't like to waste time. He's shopped from catalogs, but likes the time savings of online buying.

"I would just as soon spend ten minutes on the computer than ten minutes looking for a parking space," Mike says. That's not counting the "hour plus looking for what you want."

Growing numbers of online savvy shoppers are forgoing crowds to shop without makeup or even in their pajamas.

More name brands are online and more big name companies have put up sites pressured by demand.

Often shipping is free, based on the amount you buy. Read the fine print though; there can be service charges.

Most reputable online shopping sites use security measures like encryption to foil those who might, on the off chance, try to get your credit card number.

Mike says he's not worried about security. "Especially since you're looking at a maximum of $50 that they can take and then I don't have to worry about it after that." Mike considers the risk minimal.

Ninety percent of those surveyed by Harris aren't quite as comfortable as Mike though. They say security remains an issue.

Credit cards companies are working closely with internet shopping sites and services on security, and new encryption is pretty powerful so the security issue appears to be one of perception rather than fact.

And remember, you can shop online after the stores close!


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