Only 8% of online shoppers say that sales tax is a major factor in their purchasing decisions, suggesting that a proposed nationwide sales tax for online retailers will not significantly affect customers' buying habits, study finds

LOS ANGELES , December 12, 2011 () – According to a study by Forrester Research Inc. and Bizrate Insights, only 8% of online shoppers say that sales tax is a major factor in their purchasing decisions, suggesting that a proposed nationwide sales tax for online retailers will not significantly affect customers’ buying habits, Internet Retailer reported on Dec. 9.

The study, called the Bizrate Insights/Forrester Sales Tax Flash Online Survey Q2 2011, looked at responses from 34,022 online shoppers who said that they had recently shopped online.

Sucharita Mulpuru, a vice president at Forrester and the principal analyst for e-business who also served as the study’s main author, said that results suggest that the implementation of a nationwide sales tax “is not likely to be a game changer” for online retailers. She added, “Only around one-quarter of buyers said that the introduction of sales tax would cause them to switch retailers.”

Of the 59% of respondents in the study said that sales tax was factor in their online purchasing decisions, 22% said that it was not very important, and 29% said that it was only one of several factors that they considered.

Of the 41% of respondents in the survey who said that sales tax was not an important factor in their online purchasing decisions, 27% said it was either not important or considered, and 6% said that they wanted to make their purchase from a particular retailer regardless of sales tax.

25% of the respondents who reported not having paid a sales tax on their most recent online purchase said that they would have gone to an alternative retailer if they had been required to pay a sales tax.

64% of the respondents who reported having paid a sales tax on their most recent online purchase said that other factors were more important than cost, while 36% said that the cost of the item was still lower than they could get elsewhere. 22% of respondents admitted that they had considered forgoing the online purchase in order to avoid the sales tax.

60% of respondents said that taxes become an increasingly important factor as the cost of the item goes up.

The primary source of this article is Internet Retailer, Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 9, 2011.

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