Report: Women Leading the Online Shopping Charge

The increase in use of the Internet by consumers is, for the first time,
being driven by women as the number of female consumers online jumped 80 percent in
nine months to pass the 10-million mark, says a new study.

Also, according to an April 1999 study just released by industry association
CommerceNet and Nielsen Media Research, the number of
Internet users in North America has now reached 92 million. Of today’s 92
million Internet users, 46 percent are women. The percent of female users had been
about 43 percent for nearly two years.

The number of Internet users age 16 and older in the U.S. and Canada
increased 16 percent in just nine months. And the number of online consumers jumped
40 percent to 28 million during the same period.

“More than two of every five people in North America are now Internet users,
and the Web is becoming an integral part of daily life,” said Mark Resch,
executive vice president of CommerceNet. “With more than 30% of users being
Internet consumers, we’re seeing a tidal wave of e-commerce in North

The new Internet Demographics study reveals that women are now the driving
force in the growth of Internet buying, as the proportion of women among
online buyers increased nine percentage points, from 29 percent to 38 percent since last
summer. Those figures are backed up by a similar report from The Strategis Group released earlier this year.

“Men were undoubtedly the early adopters of Internet commerce, but women have
recently emerged as a powerful buying force on the Web. The nine-point
increase in the proportion of women purchasing via the Web in such a short
period of time is substantial,” said Jerome Samson, director of technology
and business strategy at Nielsen Media Research.

According to the study, women now represent 45 percent of the 9.2 million online
book buyers, 38 percent of the 7.2 million CD/video buyers, 24 percent of the 5.4 million
buyers of computer hardware, and 53 percent of the 4.5 million online buyers of
clothing. In these top categories, the number of women making purchases more
than doubled since last summer.

A total of 55 million people, or 60 percent of the Internet population, have used
the Web to shop, an increase of 15% since last summer, the study shows. The
increase is in line with the growth of the Internet population overall.

Women’s top shopping items are clothing (6.9 million shoppers) and books (6.2
million shoppers), while men’s top shopping items are cars/car parts (12.6
million shoppers) and computers (9.4 million shoppers).

CommerceNet and Nielsen Media Research have conducted demographic and
e-commerce studies of the Internet since 1995. These studies are accessible
via Gideon, an application
that enables clients to analyze the demographic characteristics of the
Internet population directly over the Web.

More than 7,200 persons were interviewed for the April 1999 study.

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