Increasing amounts of internet retailers are offering free shipping as a means to boost sales into the holiday season, so much so that in the three weeks prior to December 5, 50 percent of online transactions involved free shipping.


A recent report into internet shopping released by data analyst company ComScore found that the importance of free shipping to consumers has grown in the 2010 holiday season. Looking at data from American households, ComScore found that over the week ending December 5 consumers purchasing goods with free shipping rose by 7.6 percent from the same week in 2009, representing 51.4 percent of all internet shopping transactions.

According to a statement by ComScore's chairman Gian Flugoni, free shipping has become so important to shoppers that "the majority of consumers...will abandon their shopping carts if they get to check-out and find that free shipping is not included."

Data from market analysts Experian Hitwise shows that Amazon, eBay and their regional subsidiaries are consistently the most visited internet shopping sites in the US, UK, Singapore and Australia. While due to the nature of the site shipping rates on eBay vary with the seller, Amazon offers a number of items with free shipping or free shipping on orders over a certain amount varying by country. Other internet retail leaders such as Walmart and also offer free shipping on a number of items.