Magazine article Marketing

Watching the US for Evolution of the Net at Home

Magazine article Marketing

Watching the US for Evolution of the Net at Home

Article excerpt

If you want to know what's going to happen as the Internet evolves, conventional wisdom would have you look at the US and estimate what the time lag will be before it happens here. Penetration is more advanced over the pond so we must be going down the same highway.

Not so fast. There are structural differences in the evolution of the Internet in the US that make this approach highly questionable.

First, home penetration of PCs is much higher in the US; about a third of homes have Internet capable PCs while the UK lags at around half this figure. Second, local calls in most areas of the US are free or very cheap, giving free local access to Internet connection. The third difference is the strong marketing campaign by America Online which has been a key driver of the Internet into US homes.

These structural differences are reflected by the different patterns of take up in the two countries. The Henley Centre's Media Futures study looked at two groups of Internet 'early adopters'; one on each side of the Atlantic.

Internet users in the US are twice as likely to have first. used the Net at home than UK users, whose first experience was at work. That pattern continues, with US users being much more likely to be connected at home. As a consequence they connect more frequently (typically every day) and spend more time connected (over 60 minutes compared with under 30 minutes in the UK). As they are online for longer and in their own (rather than their employer's) time, the average American is more likely to use the Net for general looking around or surfing. …

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