Cyber Christmas shoppers are avoiding crowded malls this year and logging onto the World Wide Web instead to buy nearly U $200 million worth of products, according to a study by Jupiter Communications.
An estimated US$194 million will change hands electronically during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas--41% of the year's total of US$478 million, according to the report.
Some of the reasons people are spending more money for goods on the Internet during the holiday season include the availability of interactive "gift picking" and delivery services and 24-hour, seven-day-a-week shopping hours, according to Nicole Vanderbilt, senior analyst at Jupiter.
Analysts at Jupiter admit that the 1996 electronic commerce total fell below expectations. But they say that the appearance of big-name retailers on the Internet and increased security of credit-card transactions will drive an increase in purchases in 1997.
Jupiter is on the Web at http://www.jup.com.