Economy's bad, people are mad, so shop online this Xmas

A survey suggests that the reason many intend to shop online this holiday season is that they believe the bad economy will make people go crazy in physical stores.

Oh, come on. You can get everything on Amazon, can't you? Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

For those who were amused by tonight's presidential debate, there will have been either the audacity of hope or the fright of despair.

But I cannot sit and wait to hear what the pundits think. For I have real data about what real people are really thinking.

It comes from a survey conducted on behalf of SOASTA, a cloud and mobile testing company that helped NASA prepare for its curious Mars landing.

SOASTA wanted to look ahead to see how real people see the holiday shopping season, given the economic uncertainty that is lashing at our fleshy parts.

And what thoroughly fascinating results it found.

Fully 51 percent of Americans declared that the economy is so very bad that they plan on shopping online this holiday season.

Now I want you to think about the logic in that declaration.

The economy is apparently terrible, but people still intend to shop. So it can't be that bad, can it? People still have money, right?

Ah, but it can. For 98 percent of those surveyed declared that the economy is bad. Which naturally leads the fine people at SOASTA to make all sorts of grandiose declarations.

For example, here's a quote given to me by the company's CEO, Lounibos. (Yes, this company has a loony boss):

With millions of Americans planning on using these websites, it's more important than ever that they are fully optimized to make sure shoppers get the best experience possible. SOASTA's CloudTest Technology makes certain that every web site and mobile site is at its best, so shoppers get the online experience they are looking for.

They're selling. You know how it is with these surveys. The companies that commission them are selling something.

But before your cynicism leads you to an extra glass of Sauvignon Blanc, allow me to add one more statistic from this survey.

Thirty-one percent of people said they'd shop online because the bad economy will "bring out the crazy" in people when they go to physical stores.

Yes, the sweaty crushes and fist-fights at Wal-Mart seem to be taking their psychological toll. People no longer want to be a part of the maul at the mall. They no longer want to be sweaty buying next year's sweats.

Many, many people are apparently looking to use mobile apps to avoid holiday shopping chaos.

Forty-six percent even declared that they looked forward to being able to use apps that would help them avoid long checkout lines, while an utterly self-absorbed 33 percent said that they couldn't wait to share pictures of things they coveted with their friends.

You will, no doubt, be aware that on Friday the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes its Employment Situation report for September.

It may well be that these numbers will result in even more people being forced to bring out their crazy over the holiday period. Which will, in turn, force more people to shop online.

I think there was logic in that last paragraph. Let's hope.

 

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