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RealTime IT News

Report: 43 Million Online Shoppers Used Credit Cards

Online purchases are up dramatically over the past three years and now an estimated 43 million users are clicking to Web sites with their credit cards in hand, according to research firm NetSmart.

And more and more of them are women.

Seventy percent of online consumers reported completing online transactions last year, up from only 25% in 1995, according to Bernadette Tracy, founder and president of NetSmart in New York City. Tracy cited a direct correlation between the number of credit card transactions and the length of time users have been going online.

The findings of NetSmart's most recent research report entitled "e-Commerce: Internet Users Mean Business," were announced during a recent "Conversations With. . . " breakfast seminar hosted by Women in New Media (WIN), a non-profit organization for women in the new media industry.

"At first we were concerned that online shopping would be seen as a passing fad," said Tracy. "Newbies, or first-time shoppers, initially view the Internet as a toy. But as the novelty wears off, the Internet becomes a time- saving tool used increasingly by time-starved women. Although male usage has begun to plateau, women are flocking to the Internet, citing convenience and ease as their primary motivations for purchasing online."

The NetSmart report shows that although online consumers typically do not purchase high-ticket items, nearly 63% of them decide what they will buy while online.

"Few marketers are exploiting this gold mine to its fullest," Tracy added. "Nearly 55% of Internet users will be female by the year 2001, and 70% of women are currently paying all monthly bills for their household. This provides marketers with a unique opportunity to leverage the Internet as a tool to convert interested visitors into satisfied customers. Online success is more a question of bonding than it is of branding."

"Conversations With. . . ", one of many enrichment events hosted by WIN in New York, was created to offer female executives the opportunity to have informative discussions with the technology and new media industry's top figures. The next conversation will be held Sept. 22 with Dorothea Palsho, president of Dow Jones Interactive Publishing.

For more information on becoming a member of WIN, contact Trudy Ellins at info@winm.org or call (212) 587-4277.