Holiday Survey: More Shoppers Poised to Spend Online This Season

Nov 21, 2011, 10:44 ET from Retail Industry Leaders Association

Consumers Back Congressional Action to Close Sales Tax Loophole

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One third of consumers plan on starting their holiday shopping during the long weekend after Thanksgiving according to a survey commissioned 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.

"The growth of online sales has made Cyber Monday and other online holiday shopping trends equally as important to retailers as Black Friday. Unlike a decade ago, a successful holiday season now means success in the store and online," said Retail Industry Leaders Association president Sandy Kennedy.

Nearly a 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," said Kennedy. "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.

"Retailers are hopeful this will be the last holiday season that the heavy hand of government puts Main Street retailers at a disadvantage," said Kennedy.

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, its still owed by the consumer.

"Congress can take the burden off consumers and level the playing field for retailers by passing e-fairness legislation this holiday season. In a true free market, regardless of whether a sale happens in a store or online, the state sales tax collected should be the same," concluded Kennedy.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is a trade association of the largest and most successful companies in the retail industry. Its member companies include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales. RILA members operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers, have facilities in all 50 states, and provide millions of jobs domestically and worldwide.

SOURCE Retail Industry Leaders Association