RealTime IT News

Study: Book, Hardware and Software Sales Surge

Books and computer hardware and software are the items most people purchase via the Web, according to data from the most recent study of Internet demographics by Nielsen Media Research and industry trade association CommerceNet.

The study shows that 5.6 million people have purchased books online, while 4.4 million people have purchased hardware, and 4 million people have purchased software.

According to Nielsen Media Research and CommerceNet, 78 million people used the Web during the first six months of 1998, and 20 million of those users made purchases via the Web. The following are highlights of shopping and purchasing activity from the study:

Demographics, June, 1998 vs. September, 1997

  • 48 million Web shoppers - increase of 37% from September 1997.
  • 20 million Web purchasers - increase of 100% from September 1997.
  • 71% of Web purchasers are men, 29% are women - unchanged from September 1997.
  • Women represent 36% of all online book buyers and 12% of all online computer hardware buyers.
  • Among persons age 16-24, the top items purchased on the Web are books, CDs/cassettes/videos, and clothing.
  • Among persons 50 years and older, the top items purchased on the Web are books, software and computer hardware.
  • Consumers under the age of 35 represent 65% of all persons buying clothing on the Web, and 64% of all persons buying CDs/cassettes/videos.
  • Consumers 35 years old and over represent 63% of all persons buying computer hardware on the Web, 59% of all persons buying software and 58% of all persons buying books.

Top Items Purchased on the Web, June, 1998 vs. September, 1997

  • Books - 5.6 million people - an increase of 3.3 million.
  • Computer hardware - 4.4 million people - an increase of 2.4 million.
  • Computer software - 4.0 million people - an increase of 1.2 million.
  • Travel (purchase of airline tickets, and making hotel and car rental reservations) - 2.8 million people - an increase of 1.6 million.
  • Clothing - 2.7 million people - an increase of 1.8 million.

The report on Web shopping and purchasing is new data taken from a Nielsen Media Research/CommerceNet study on Internet demographics released to researchers in August 1998. Information is based on telephone interviews conducted in June 1998 with nearly 5,000 randomly selected respondents age 16 and older. Growth comparisons are to a similar study conducted in September 1997. The results reported represent answers to un-aided questions, and are statistically representative of the overall U.S. and Canada populations age 16 and older.

Customers can access and use the data via a new, password-protected, Web-based application called GIDEON (Gateway to Internet Demographics Online). The application offers use and pricing options ranging from basic access for $1,500 to expert-level access for $10,000. Printed reports are also available.