A Web retailer’s success or failure as a gift-buying destination depends on how well its presence and offerings match what the 20 million online gift buyers expect when they search for gifts online. According to a new Technographics™ Report from Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), Web retailers need to understand which products online gift buyers seek, when gift buyers turn to the Web, and what drives satisfaction with online gift purchases.

Understanding which products resonate specifically with online gift buyers and how particular gift categories vary by occasion will help retailers push the right gifts at the right times. On average, gift buyers spend $68 per online purchase. And while products like clothing and books hover near the top of the popularity list for every occasion, the gift that takes the cake differs with each event. For example, toys top the list for child-centric gift-giving occasions, books are the favorite for adults’ birthdays, and flowers are most popular for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

“Having the right product mix is one thing, but it won’t do any good if the consumer doesn’t think of the site when going online to buy,” said Christopher M. Kelley analyst at Forrester Research. “Consumers are demanding the perfect gift, at the right time, and hassle-free — in this competitive landscape, e-tailers must deliver on this promise or perish.”

The next step to luring online gift buyers is understanding when consumers go to the Web to purchase a present. Shoppers in the market for low-risk gifts, such as books or T-shirts, know exactly what they want and where they’ll buy it when shopping on the Web. However, consumers searching for big-ticket electronics will search on a couple of sites to comparison shop for the best price before making a purchase.

Retailers that minimize the risks associated with buying gifts online will satisfy consumers. Having the right product mix and being in the consumer’s head doesn’t amount to much if the site can’t satisfy the consumer. The top priority for online gift buyers is that their gift arrives on time. No gift giver — on- or offline — wants to spoil a party and disappoint a hopeful gift recipient by telling him that his gift hasn’tarrived — 81% of gift buyers reported that online delivery is key. Also, since most gift buyers already know what they want and where they want to buy it by the time they hit the Web, they can’t be bothered by bad search and product category guessing games. Online gift buyers love the Web because it saves them time — 62% of Web buyers said that they saved time buying gifts online versus going to a store.

For the Report “Pulling In Online Gift Buyers,” Forrester conducted a mail survey of 10,536 American and Canadian online households. Forrester also drew data from Forrester’s Technographics 2000 North American Benchmark Study of 80,887 American and Canadian households. From these surveys, Forrester found that 57% of Web buyers have purchased gifts online, and 84% of online gift buyers are happy with their most recent Web gift purchase. Web gift buyers also look to the Web throughout the year — 62% have purchased a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, 59% have purchased a gift for an adult’s birthday, and 32% bought a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day present.