Pro: Shopping online is convenient, economical

Rather than bundling up her 2-year-old daughter, Addison, and dragging her from store to store, Kimberly Purdy, 30, of Victoria, does most of her Christmas shopping from the convenience of her home.

"They have a better selection, better prices and deals. It is just generally more convenient," Purdy said.

Isabella Crawford, 14, of Victoria, also finds online shopping more convenient.

"I don't always have time to come out to the mall," Isabella said. "Also, some of the stores don't carry all of the items. Some stuff is only sold online."

While paying up to $7 for shipping can be expensive, Isabella said, it is worth it to get the specific items she wants to buy.

Target Senior Team Leader Blythe Chacon said Target is among the stores that offers deals online that are not available in Target stores.

Many local stores with online shopping options allow customers to return purchases in store without paying for return shipping.

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 11, $24.6 billion had been spent in retail online, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year, according to a news release from comScore. Since comScore began tracking e-commerce spending in 2001, "Cyber Monday 2011," Nov. 28, ranks as the heaviest online spending day in history at $1.25 billion.

Jenny Moore, 31, of Yoakum, does a majority of her shopping online. She is not concerned with online clothing purchases not fitting properly.

"The sizing charts tend to work pretty well, but generally, I shop at places I have already been to in person," Moore said. "It is always hardest the first time I shop online at a store, but after that, you get used to it.

Customer service on websites is often provided either by phone, email or instant chat features.

Moore said she also relies on the feedback other customers provide when they leave feedback on their purchases.

Feedback from other customers fill in the blanks product descriptions may leave, such as when a clothing item runs large or small, the quality of the material and other personal observations.

"It is more convenient and less hassle," Moore said. "It cuts down on gas, driving from store to store. Also, since they deliver right to your door, it is much easier."

Websites are not constricted by store hours, and visiting multiple websites can be done more quickly than driving between stores.

Caleb Breshears, 38, of Victoria, said he tends to buy electronics online. Generally, he has already seen the electronics in person, but comparison shopping and bargain hunting are easier online.

"These days, it is easy to check prices on our phones," agreed his wife Jana Breshears, 35, of Victoria.

When the Breshears are going to shop in person for clothes, going to Houston or San Antonio for a wider selection is limited by the cost of gas.

"We will generally wait and do that shopping all at once so it is more economical," he said.

Dillard's store manager Aimee Jaunal said many people shop online to avoid the crowds.

"It is easy to make a purchase in just a few clicks," Jaunal said.

"We have people shop online, then make returns in person at least once or twice a week because it is more convenient," Jaunal said.

Jennifer Ernst, 39, of Victoria, beats the crowds by shopping online - she also has found a way to beat the added cost of shipping.

"I usually watch for free shipping," Ernst said. "Some sites have vouchers for free shipping for frequent shoppers too."

If she is in a hurry and uncertain which size to buy, sometimes Ernst will buy two or three sizes and return what doesn't fit.

Ernst said especially in a small town like Victoria, shopping online reduces the chances that someone else will be wearing the exact same item she bought.

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