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Report Finds 100% Increase in Online Purchasers

A new study from Yankelovich Partners Inc. says that in the past year, there has been a 100 percent increase in the number of consumers who "purchase products or services" online and a 54 percent increase in those who "shop for products or services."

The figures are from the 1999 Yankelovich MONITOR study, which the company claims is the "longest continuously-running study of consumer attitudes in America."

The study also found a 44 percent increase in the number of online consumers making "financial transactions such as stock trades," as well as growth in a wide variety of other online shopping categories.

Additionally, 60 percent of consumers say "when I look for information about companies, I almost always turn to the Internet."

"As we approach the new millennium, we are finally seeing the imprint of the Internet on consumer attitudes," said Steve Kraus, a partner at Yankelovich. "The Internet is empowering -- it puts consumers in the drivers seat, and they are starting to take the wheel."

Sixty-four percent of consumers agree "the single most important change created by the Internet is giving consumers like me control, as opposed to marketers having all the control," and 65 percent said that "having a personal computer has really changed my life for the better."

Additionally, 92 percent of consumers said they feel "much more knowledgeable and powerful today about what they buy and where they shop than ever before." In contrast, in the pre-Internet mid-1980s, only about two-thirds of consumers "felt more in charge as a shopper than they used to."

On the downside, the study found evidence of growing consumer boredom. Seventy-one percent of Americans say "I would welcome more novelty and change in my life," (up from 67 percent in 1998), 53 percent say "I like to imagine myself doing things I know I wouldn't dare do," (up from 49 percent in 1998), and 36 percent say "I need to go places that are so different from my daily experiences that they feel like make-believe." (up from 31 percent in 1998)

"As consumers gain control in the marketplace, we see a drop in stress levels and an openness to new experiences," said Kraus. "This will continue to spur the explosion of e-commerce through the new millennium."

Interviews for the study were conducted in the first quarter of 1999 with over 2,500 Americans drawn from a nationally representative sample.



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