The Death of Geek-Rule?
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The Web is no longer being dominated by stereotypical over-educated Internet geeks, according to a new industry research report that says the online world is undergoing a significant demographic shift.
The report, based on research for the Yankee Group's Interactive Consumer Survey (IAC) 2000, indicates that the average online consumer is increasingly likely to be female and often has less than a year's experience on the Internet.
In fact, the report found that 33 percent of today's online U.S. households have been online for less than one year, and 60 percent of these new home-based Internet subscribers are women.
Furthermore, it's no longer axiomatic that Internet users tend to have lots of disposable income. The study found that "many new online consumers earn average or below-average annual incomes."
"The results of the (survey) are significant because it shows that the Internet has begun to reach into the mass consumer market in the United States," said Lisa Melsted, an analyst in the Yankee Group's Internet Market Strategies Planning Service.
"We're just now beginning to cross the divide between those segments of the population that have been deemed the technology haves and have-nots."
"What's more, for those consumers online, the Internet is becoming as much of a daily habit at home as turning on the television," she said.
The Yankee Group believes that consumer adoption of online access may be due in part to factors such as the decline of PC prices over the past few years, as well as the proliferation of affordable or free ISP services. According to the report, 47 percent of newcomers have a free Internet account.
Other consumer usage trends:
- Surfing is a myth. Most consumers are going online with a specific purpose in mind, and only 3 percent of at-home users "always" spend their time using random sources. Over 50 percent of respondents "always" or "usually" use the same online sources both at home and at work
- E-mail is the most widely used application on the Internet and the first thing that people do when they go online. Sixty-eight percent of respondents rated e-mail as their top online activity
- E-commerce is catching on with online consumers. According to the survey, shopping is the most popular e-commerce activity online - ranking high above online banking, stock trading and paying bills
- Consumers primarily look to the Web for information. Education and learning ranked second only to e-mail as the top online activity in the survey. News gathering activities ranked high in the survey. The Web is quickly becoming the preferred source for quick information gathering and research
- The Interactive Consumer Survey 2000 was e-mailed to a panel of 3,500 online households in the United States. The Yankee Group is a technology research and strategic consulting firm