UCLA’s annual report on the Internet’s impact on our lives says that although going online has become a mainstream activity, “enthusiasm for e-commerce is down” and “broad concerns remain about Internet privacy and security.”
The study also found that “television is the primary victim of increasing Internet use” and that most security concerns involve worries about the use of credit card numbers online.
“Despite the dot-com meltdown, we found that the Internet is more vigorous than ever,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Los Angeles-based university’s Center for Communication Policy, a research unit in The Anderson School at UCLA that is affiliated with the College of Letters and Science.
“A large majority of Americans go online, Internet use continues to increase and growing numbers of non-users expect to go online in the next year,” Cole said. “Yet, many concerns about the Internet remain from 2000, and new concerns have emerged in 2001.”
The study found that 72.3 percent of Americans have Internet access, up from 66.9 percent in 2000. Users said they go online an average of 9.8 hours per week, an increase from 9.4 hours in 2000.
On the e-commerce front, the study found that online purchasing in general continues to be strong: 48.9 percent of Internet users purchased online in 2001. However, that was down slightly from 50.7 percent in 2000.
As for television: “Without question, Internet users are ‘buying’ some of their time to go online from the time they used to spend watching television,” Cole said. “The only social activity in American households that suffers significantly as a result of Internet use is time spent watching television.”
The UCLA study, available here, is based on a national sample of 2,006 Internet users and non-users.