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Survey: More Shoppers Poised To Spend Online This Season

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DETROIT (WWJ) - One third of consumers plan on starting their holiday shopping during the long weekend after Thanksgiving, according to a survey by the Retail Industry Leaders Association. One out of four intend to get started on Black Friday.

The relatively new shopping phenomenon of “Cyber Monday” has quickly become a lure for holiday bargain hunters as well. Twenty one percent of consumers say they plan on staying home and searching online for shopping deals on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Retail Industry Leaders Association president Sandy Kennedy said the growth of online sales has made Cyber Monday and other online holiday shopping trends equally as important to retailers as Black Friday.

Nearly one-fifth of those surveyed (19 percent) said they plan on doing the majority of their holiday shopping online. As this segment of retailing grows, so too does the need for Congress to level the playing field by closing the online sales tax loophole.

“Both brick and mortar stores and online retailers will compete for holiday shopping dollars, but the loophole that allows e-tailers to avoid collecting sales tax at the point of purchase means that competition is not on a level playing field,” Kennedy said in a release. “Government special treatment for online-only retailers like Amazon and Overstock means a perceived price advantage of up to ten percent against those retailers that are required to collect sales tax.”

Legislation recently introduced in the United States Senate would allow states to require online sellers like Amazon and Overstock to begin collecting and remitting state sales tax.

And it seems like consumers agree. Sixty one percent of consumers surveyed support Congress passing legislation that would allow states to require online-only retailers to collect state sales tax just like storefronts in the community.

Not surprisingly, three-quarters of those surveyed had no idea that when a sales tax is not collected at the point of purchase on sites like Amazon.com, it’s still owed by the consumer.

Kennedy said Congress can take the burden off consumers and level the playing field for retailers by passing e-fairness legislation.

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