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RealTime IT News

Only a Third of Surfers Are Shoppers, Study Finds

Only one-in-three (32 percent) Internet users so far have actually made a purchase online, according to data from The Internet Commerce Briefing.

Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) have used the Internet to research purchases, the data shows. But why aren't more people completing those purchases online?

The barriers most frequently cited by individuals include product pricing (77 percent), potential return hassles (67 percent), concerns about credit card security (65 percent), and personal privacy issues such as worries about junk e-mail (58 percent).

Difficulties in navigating merchant sites were cited as a barrier by 35 percent of individuals who have yet to make an online purchase and, somewhat surprisingly, by 48 percent of those who have purchased something online.

One-in-four buyers also complained about the amount of time it took to receive their orders.

While a sizable gap exists between the number of online shoppers and buyers, the average visitor/buyer conversion rate of 2.7 percent among leading online merchants approximates the conversion rates of their off-line direct response competitors, the data showed.

Among publicly held online merchants, the companies most effective at converting shoppers into buyers during the first quarter of 1999 along with the estimated amount invested to acquire each new customer in the first quarter include:

  • Autobytel.com $20.40
  • Amazon.com $27.60
  • Beyond.com $29.30
  • Priceline.com $32.30
  • BarnesandNoble.com $42.00

Intermarket Group's The Internet Commerce Briefing is a reference guide to the emerging Internet economy, aggregating data and forecasts from analysts, market researchers and technology consultants.