DoubleClick/Nielsen survey may imply comparison shopping surprise

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 |  Includes: ASKJ, CNIC, DCLK, GOOG, MIVA, SHOP-OLD, YHOO
by: David Jackson

DoubleClick released the results of a survey it commissioned from Nielsen / NetRatings. Yup, yet another online holiday shopping survey. So instead of summarizing the unsurprising results (online shopping is growing faster than offline shopping - dah!), here's the more interesting part:


How do people find gifts online? The survey found that 38% of
respondents said they used search engine results, 30% browsed web
sites, 26% bought on word of mouth, 22% found gifts in a catalog, and
20% found gifts in a store and then bought online. What about response
to media ads? 17% responded to ads on search engines, 16% to email
marketing, 15% to television ads, 14% to television programs, 14% to
web advertising, and 11% to magazine ads. Finally, 14% used comparison online shopping tools.

These results seem to be good news for the search companies
and the comparison shopping companies. We know that many people use
search as their starting point for shopping, and we know that
pay-per-click ads are highly effective and popular. These results
confirm that, and are positive - though perhaps priced-in to the stocks
already - for the large cap search companies GOOG and YHOO and the
small cap search companies ASKJ, FWHT and MAMA.

The surprise might be the comparison shopping result - that
14% of respondents used comparison shopping tools. That's probably good
news for GOOG (Froogle), YHOO (Yahoo! Shopping), SHOP (Shopping.com),
and private companies NexTag, PriceGrabber and Shopzilla.

PriceGrabber stated at the recent Majestic conference that its
traffic was up 70% year over year. Shopping.com announced on November
22nd that it expects its fourth quarter revenues to grow by only 33%.
On December 6th Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on Shopping.com with a
"sell" rating, perhaps based on that 33% revenue growth number. But the
DoubleClick/Nielsen results, combined with the recent strength in late
online holiday shopping raise the possibility that Shopping.com could
exceed that number.

Full disclosure: at the time of writing I own stock in Shopping.com.