RealTime IT News

For College Students, the Internet is Integral

The Internet is now such an integral part of the life of college students that more than 80 percent have made an online purchase and 31 percent describe themselves as "Internet dependent," according to a new study.

The new Pulsefinder On-Campus Market Study, a joint project by Greenfield Online and YouthStream Media Networks , also found that more than a quarter (28 percent) of today's college kids consider themselves "cybergeeks."

"College students are leading edge Internet users. Their online habits could demonstrate the future direction of the Internet," said Rudy Nadilo, president and chief executive officer of Greenfield Online.

The vast majority of students (81 percent) have made an online purchase, the study found. And this number has increased significantly since November 1998, when 51 percent had made a purchase online.

The most common items purchased are CDs (64 percent), books (58 percent), clothing (42 percent) and concert/theater/event tickets (32 percent). And a quarter of college students have purchased textbooks online at sites like amazon.com, varsitybooks.com, ecampus.com bigwords.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Those students who buy textbooks online describe the process as "inexpensive" (77 percent), "more convenient" (49 percent) and "easier" (42 percent). Ten percent also like the sites' guaranteed book buy-back, the study found.

Surprisingly, the main reason students do not purchase textbooks online is "inconvenience" (49 percent). Other reasons not to buy textbooks online include "shipping charges" (31 percent), "poor selection" (22 percent) and "have to pay to return the book" (18 percent).

Nearly all the students surveyed (92 percent) own a computer. The majority of students (78 percent) have been using the Internet for at least three years, and 90 percent go online at least once a day. They spend an average of three hours online every day, and 20 percent spend four or more hours online each day.

The 120-page study of 1,135 students, drawn from an online research panel of 30,000 four-year-college students recruited by research firm Greenfield Online and YouthStream Media Networks, is part of an on-going tracking study conducted quarterly during the academic year.

YouthStream Media Networks serves the young adult market through its online and off-line family of holdings, including sixdegrees.com.