Internet Usage Jumps to All-Time High

By @NY Staff

Nielsen//NetRatings said Internet users in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 115.2 million in October, about 62 percent of Americans. Its latest monthly numbers also show that the active Internet population has grown by 15 percent in the past year.

The Internet ratings and measurement firm said that in October, the number of people going online grew by 4 percent, the largest monthly increase in 2001.

Many Internet users were instead glued to their television sets in September following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC. The data suggest they came back the following month.

Despite sluggish economic conditions, the numbers point to the overall health of the Internet as a growing medium and could bode well for holiday e-commerce sales traffic, said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at the Milpitas, Calif-based NetRatings.

Also, last year at this time, Web usage surged by 8 percent from October to December, a trend that could be repeated during the fourth quarter of this year if current numbers on Web and Internet usage hold.

Neilsen//NetRatings said as of October of this year, 62 percent of all Americans now have Internet access, or about three out of five, compared to about 57 percent of the appropriate population from last year. The numbers count people with Internet access at work and at home.

In addition, the firm said surfers spent about 19 hours online during October, up about 9 percent from the 17.5 hour average during October last year. They logged on more frequently too, averaging 35 sessions during the month compared to the 33 sessions last year at the same time, a six percent increase.

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