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4/22/2008
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High Gas Prices Fuel Move To Online Shopping

Round-the-clock shopping from home, free shipping, and lower prices were other reasons cited for buying things online.

The rocketing price of gas at the pump is driving many shoppers to their computers and online shopping instead of to brick and mortar stores, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The report, by business software supplier iCongo, found that one-third of the 2,363 adults surveyed said the high price of gasoline is making them more likely to shop online rather than at a retail store location.

"It's fair to say that consumers may be looking to fire up their computer more often than their car or truck when it comes to retail shopping," said Irwin Kramer, iCongo CEO, in a statement.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, listed other reasons shoppers are increasingly turning to shopping online, but the high cost of gas is the latest impetus pushing shoppers to purchase online.

High on the list of reasons for shopping online is the fact that the practice enables shoppers to shop from home at any time -- 61% of survey respondents cited this advantage. Free shipping was mentioned by online shoppers as an important reason for shopping online and 55% said lower prices influenced them to shop online.

The iCongo survey also revealed that 45% of the respondents plan to use their upcoming U.S. federal tax rebate to make retail purchases -- a figure considerably higher than earlier predictions.

"Whether purchases are made online or in a store," Kramer said, "these rebate checks are going to have an effect on the overall economy."

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