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Online or in stores? New survey shows Americans divided on where to find best deals

With less than three weeks left in the official holiday shopping season, 74% of Americans feel that the easiest way to complete their gift purchases is online, while 87% feel that brick-and-mortar stores do a better job of putting them in the holiday spirit. StrategyOne

StrategyOne's Annual Holiday Shopping Index, which is examining the "Bricks vs. Clicks" divide, also found that 52% of Americans said they find the best deals online, while 48% say the best deals are in brick and mortar stores.

From its recent public opinion poll, StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman strategic research and polling firm, also found that 54% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to make sure their spending doesn't exceed their holiday gift budget. Overall, 59% of consumers said they preferred to do their holiday shopping in stores.

The StrategyOne survey also found that U.S. consumers are disappointed this season by the lack of bargains in stores and surprised by higher-than-expected retail prices. Sixty-eight percent said there were not nearly enough low prices, and 45% experienced sticker shock with prices that were generally higher than they expected.

The StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index declined last week to 76.5 from 83.8 the week before, indicating that three in four holiday shoppers still have presents to buy and have not made firm decisions about what they will purchase.

"With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, a substantial number of consumers have begun to make their holiday purchases," said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. "However, the market remains largely open for retailers and marketers to reach their target audiences across all channels of the retail marketplace, and value clearly remains a top priority for consumers this holiday season."

StrategyOne conducted 1,072 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1, 2010. The margin of sampling error at the 95% level of confidence is = +/- 3.14% overall and larger for subgroups. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics. The Annual StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index is a weekly public opinion survey of U.S. consumers, which occurs between the middle of November and the end of December. For more information about the Shopping Index, visit www.strategyone.net/HolidayIndex.html

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