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AOL Sales Explosion

With satisfaction levels among online shoppers at an all-time high, the AOL 1998 holiday shopping season hit $1 billion in sales online.

America Online reports that during the nearly six weeks of the 1998 holiday shopping season, 1.25 million AOL members shopped online for the first time. Overall, AOL members spent an estimated $1.2 billion during the period November 26 to December 27, 1998. This year, Thursday, December 17 was the heaviest shopping day of the season and AOLs best retail day ever, generating over $36 million in sales of consumer goods and travel-related services. The 1997 shopping season, in comparison, marked the first time that purchases by AOL members resulted in a $1 million shopping day.

More people use America Online to shop than any other destination in cyberspace. AOL reports that 63% of their shoppers are very satisfied with the online shopping experience, and the remaining 37% are satisfied, according to research conducted for them by the Internet Research Group (IRG). Also reported: 98% of AOL shoppers surveyed said they would shop online again in the next six months, with 73% very likely and 25% likely.

The unbeatable ease and convenience of shopping online attracts more and more consumers every day, with unprecedented numbers shopping online this holiday season. AOL is confident that this is not just a holiday trend, and is expecting these shoppers to come back and shop online over and over again throughout the year.

According to AOLs recent survey, the top area of online shopping during November and December was the Toys, Kids and Babies category, followed closely by apparel. AOL shoppers purchased two items online every week during the 1998 holiday shopping season, spending an average of $54 on each purchase, nearly 50% more per purchase than in 1997.

This year, in addition to offering top merchants, products and services, AOL provided a new feature – the Holiday Shopping Helper, which had a free 800 number for shoppers to address questions about online shopping, or to get hints about what to buy Aunt Emma. Almost 70% of all AOL members rated this service as excellent or very good.

One of the best things to happen online this holiday season was AOLs philanthropic efforts to support Share Our Strength, one of the nations leading anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations. An online auction hosted jointly by Tiger Toys, a division of Hasbro, Impulse! Buy Network, OpenSite Technologies and AOL, raised over $100,000 through bids made on this years gotta-have toy, the Furby. The Share Our Strength Online Gift-Giving Campaign, which launched on December 10, 1998, continues through January 31, 1999.

To find out more about America Online or Share Our Strength, visit their Web site at

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