RealTime IT News

Survey: 53 Percent of U.S. Web Users Shop Online

E-tailers received some encouraging news Wednesday. Online sales have doubled during the past two years, with 53 percent of U.S. Web users saying they have made interactive purchases so far this year.

According to the third annual CyberShopper Survey, in 1997, only 26 percent of those surveyed had bought goods online. In addition, the report also found that on average, spending totaled $206 per Internet purchase, an increase of 38 percent over the past year.

The study of 1,000 Netizens examined the buying habits of America's online population and was conducted over the phone by e-business solutions provider Navidec Inc.

"As e-commerce sites have been marketed more effectively and technology has made it even easier for consumers to shop online, more Americans are turning to Web sites for their shopping needs," said Ralph Armijo, president of Navidec Inc.

Some 36 percent of cybershoppers indicated they are still wary of the effectiveness of online security, but concern regarding credit card fraud while shopping online has fallen to only 21 percent. That's about half as high as in 1997.

Brick and mortar stores may feel the impact of e-tailing since 35 percent of the respondents said that they bought fewer products from retail stores, while 38 percent said they bought less from catalogs.

However Navidec's Armijo feels the Net is another distribution channel for retailers and can be viewed as complimentary to traditional brick and mortar storefronts.

The survey also cited an astounding 70 percent of e-shoppers who indicated online information regarding products strongly influenced their overall purchasing decisions.

"Buying online is no longer a novelty," Armijo said. "The Internet is an incredibly effective form of commerce. To succeed in this marketplace, companies need to become more technologically sophisticated and evolve their traditional business practices with e-business processes."

Another bright note for e-tailers: overall satisfaction with online purchases clicked with a staggering 99 percent of respondents, who said they are at least somewhat satisfied with their purchases made from the Net, with 79 percent being very satisfied.

Products enjoying the greatest amount of sales are books and publications, 52 percent; computer software, 42 percent and travel-related items, 37 percent.

The clothing/apparel sector saw the biggest increase of sales, surging 149 percent since 1998. The auto industry also scored with interactive buyers, with 83 percent of the surveyed saying they plan to use the Internet in their purchase process.