The 5 best and worst states for online shopping

Buying online isn't just about the websites you visit. Where you live affects both the price you pay and the time it takes to get the goods.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 25, 2011 7:30AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


If you like surfing big waves, Hawaii is a great place to live. But if you like surfing the Web for big deals, it's among the worst.


That's the result of a new survey by price-comparison site Extrabux, which crunched some numbers and spit out a list of the best and worst states for online shopping. Post continues after video.

You'd think everyone is equal online. But the state you live in can exert its influence in devious ways. As Extrabux says, where you live influences "shipping time and costs, sales tax rates and the chance of having to pay sales tax at all -- all of which contribute to how much you pay for your online order and how much time you spend waiting for it."

Here are the top five best states for online shopping:

  1. Delaware: This tiny states has "2.74 days average shipping time (sixth shortest in U.S.), $4.07 average shipping costs (tied for 3rd lowest) and zero percent sales tax (tied for first lowest)," Extrabux says. "Not only do Delawareans avoid paying sales tax on every online order, they have some of the lowest shipping costs and fastest shipping times."
  2. Mississippi: "The fact that only 5 percent of online retailers charge sales tax to Mississippi residents, combined with its relative proximity to East Coast distribution centers, make Mississippi our top Southern state and No. 2 on our list."
  3. New Hampshire: "Although New Hampshire residents may wait a bit longer for their packages (3.52 days on average) they never pay sales tax."
  4. West Virginia: An average shipping time of 2.72 days. Also, "very few online retailers charge sales tax to West Virginia residents."
  5. Oregon: No sales tax on online orders. "However, delivery times are less consistent than other states. On average, shipments to Oregon take 3.8 days."

Now that you know which states are closest to distribution centers, it probably won't be hard to figure out which states aren't. In addition, living in a state where businesses have brick-and-mortar buildings increases your odds of having to pay sales taxes. Among the worst states overall:

  1. Hawaii: The average online sales tax is 4.25%, the shipping costs are high, and the delivery times are slow. "On average, an order shipped to Hawaii costs $19.17 and spends 4.57 days in transit," Extrabux says.
  2. Alaska: The online sales tax is a mere 1.7% on average, "but the shipping rates and shipping times are just about as bad as Hawaii's."
  3. California: "About 50 percent of online retailers charge sales tax to California residents, which is more than in any other state." The average sales tax is 8.96%, the second highest. 
  4. New York: Sales tax averages 8.16%, and about 46% of retailers charge sales tax to New York's online shoppers.
  5. Washington: "Because pretty much every non-Seattle shipping distribution center is thousands of miles away, Washington has the slowest average shipping time of all states in the continental U.S. To make matters worse, Washington has the fifth-highest average sales tax rate at 8.45 percent."

More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:




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