Magazine article Information Today

The Internet Changes the Way We Live; Research Reveals Clusters of Users with Similar Behaviors, Preferences

Magazine article Information Today

The Internet Changes the Way We Live; Research Reveals Clusters of Users with Similar Behaviors, Preferences

Article excerpt

Research reveals clusters of users with similar behaviors, preferences

Who would've thunk it? A recent study of consumers by Coopers & Lybrand Consulting (CLC) found that the Internet and the World Wide Web are having a negative impact on television viewing but--catch this--are actually pumping up the volume of money being spent on print media.

The June 25 issue of the e-zine Online Business Today ( reported that CLC found that consumers are spending between $300 and $600 million annually on books and magazines about the Internet. And you were wondering why the Internet section of your friendly, local bookstore is growing faster than public disenchantment with the political process.

At any rate, according to CLC, about a third of the survey participants use magazines or books to learn about content on the Web, and close to two-thirds of those who have looked at an online publication "consider it a complement rather than a substitute for the print version." Uh huh. It's pretty tough to haul your PC to the beach, and downright dangerous to take it into the bathtub with you.

User Categories According to CLC

The CLC study found that three distinct clusters of online users are evolving:

* Communicators (22 percent of online users) "are innovators that began using the Internet back in 1994." They tend to be male, well-educated, do at least some work from home, and are completely comfortable with technology, preferring online activities that involve communicating with other people (e.g., chat, e-mail).

* Information Seekers (comprising 24 percent of the group) are "early adopters" similar to communicators and are also likely to be male, but with young children. They are not, however, as "technologically adept" as the previous group--although they are said to spend most of their online time hunting information, downloading software, and reading online periodicals.

* Browsers (at 54 percent) comprise the largest group of online users. Their numbers are split fairly evenly between males and females; they are also less "technologically adept" than communicators and probably have young children. Browsers generally involve themselves in far fewer online activities than the previous two groups; their interests are general information, e-mail, or just surfing. Other findings of the study:

* Internet users cite word-of-mouth (44 percent) as the most common way they learn about Web sites to visit. Some 39 percent point to traditional media as a source of this kind of information, 32 percent find new sites by browsing, and only I0 percent claim to learn of new World Wide Web sites through links with other sites.

* Only a small minority of consumers (15 percent of Internet users and 19 percent of online service subscribers) have already used a credit card to purchase something Online. Almost 80 percent of Internet users indicate a concern about the security of online financial data--specially as it pertains to services like online banking and investing.

* Although 37 percent of online users are "opposed to advertising as a way to reduce the cost of internet services," remaining users express strong interest in certain types of interactive advertising. Only 9 percent were favorably inclined toward ads that are "primarily entertaining," but 41 percent of all consumers interviewed were positive toward "advermation"--ads that provide detailed information.

Categories According to FIND/SVP

Online Business Today also discussed a recent FIND/SVP (http://etrg.findsvp. com) survey, which identified four key Internet user groups:

* Recreational Consumers (27 percent), who pay out of their own pockets for Internet access and use it primarily from home for personal applications like e-mail, news retrieval, and investment information.

* Occupational Consumers (12 percent), who also pay personally for Internet access and use it primarily from home, but mainly for business-related activities (work brought home from the job or running a small business). …

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