Poll: More than 1 in 10 Americans Now Buying Via E-Commerce

More than one in ten Americans have begun to use electronic commerce to purchase goods and services, according to a new poll commissioned by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA).

The survey, conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide, indicates that the Internet has established a significant foothold within the buying behavior of many Americans. Fifteen percent of those polled say they have made an online purchase.

“The Internet is poised to become the nation’s cash register,” said ITAA President Harris Miller. “Electronic commerce, a vague notion just a few years ago, is rapidly becoming an important alternative marketplace for many consumers. The size of the opportunity, however, will be determined by our collective ability to address important issues such as fair access, privacy and security.”

Among the findings of the ITAA/Wirthlin poll:

  • Age appears to be an important factor in Internet purchasing behavior. People over 55 are three times less likely to have made a purchase electronically than their younger counterparts.
  • Income level is critical. Those making more than $60,000 per year are twice as likely to have made an electronic purchase than those in the $40,000-$60,000 category and over three times more likely than those earning $15,000-$30,000.
  • Almost 50% of those who have not made an electronic purchase cannot because
    they do not have a computer; only 13 percent of those with a computer do not
    buy online because they do not have an Internet connection.
  • Trust may be more important than security. People are more worried about
    how online vendors will use their personal information than with computer
    thieves stealing their credit card numbers. Fifteen percent of respondents
    said their primary reason for not buying over the Internet is a lack of trust
    of electronic merchants; seven percent expressed fear of computer hackers.
  • Also, more people said they do not buy online because they want to “touch
    and feel” the merchandise (10%) than say they fear theft by computer crooks

“This survey is also a reality check,” Miller said. “While these results are
very encouraging, we must not lose sight of the fact that for millions of
Americans the admission price to this marketplace may be just too high. We
must work to assure
that economic segregation does not limit the future of electronic commerce
at the retail level.”

These results are from the Wirthlin National Quorum, a telephone survey based
on a representative random sample consisting of 1,000 adults residing within
the continental U.S.

The Arlington, VA-based ITAA consists of 11,000 direct and affiliate members
throughout the U.S. which produce products and services in the IT industry.

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