Online Shopping Enjoyed 2005

Although online holiday sales received most of the hype this year, it was a
banner 12 months to put your products online, as sales over the Internet
increased by 25 percent over 2004, according to a report.

The market research firm eMarketer said online shopping increased in 2005
because baby boomers and young shoppers — two of the largest segments — are becoming more and more familiar with the process.

The research outfit also said the increase in the use of broadband in U.S.
homes played an important factor.

EMarketer estimates that 60 percent of Internet users in 2005 went online
via a high-speed connection and predicted that number would increase to 83
percent by 2008.

“It’s obvious that the continued spread of broadband Internet access is
having a great impact in driving the growth of online shopping in the U.S.,”
Jeffrey Grau, an eMarketer analyst, said in a statement.

The reports say most Internet users have already shopped for several years
online, so user penetration has leveled off. This is a sign of a mature
sector where most individuals who plan to go online are already doing so.

“More than ever, shoppers are getting buying cues from peers on e-commerce
Web sites, social networks, discussion boards and blogs,” Grau said. “And
higher broadband penetration has allowed Web merchants to experiment with
product visualization tools to give customers an almost-real touch-and-feel
experience.”

Growth in new Internet users ages 14 and up has slowed from a 4 percent increase
between 2001 and 2005 to a projected 2 percent between 2005 and 2008,
according to eMarketer.

Nielsen/NetRatings also found that 18 percent of the biggest and most
frequent online spenders accounted for nearly half (46 percent) of
e-commerce spending June and August 2005.

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