Survey of Web Users Encouraging for Commerce

By Clark, Drew | American Banker, March 20, 1997 | Go to article overview

Survey of Web Users Encouraging for Commerce


Clark, Drew, American Banker


Consumers increasingly are using the Internet to shop for goods and services, according to a survey by Nielsen Media Research commissioned by a consortium devoted to promoting electronic commerce.

During the last 18 months, the number of adult Americans and Canadians regularly using the Internet's World Wide Web nearly tripled, to 37.4 million, and the number using it to gather product information for purchase decisions nearly quadrupled, to 27.3 million.

The share of adult Web users who have made on-line purchases (rather than just researching products) has remained constant at only about 15%. But with the absolute number of Web users increasing, the number of on-line purchasers has grown to 5.6 million from two million.

Executives conducting the survey said this is good news for bankers eager for electronic commerce to take off.

"It is encouraging that such a large number of people are purchasing, and using the Web as a valuable tool before purchasing," said Paul B. Lindstrom, vice president at Nielsen Media Research in New York.

"There are all these people banking their future on the Internet's becoming an instrument of electronic commerce," said Stacey Bressler, vice president at CommerceNet, the Palo Alto, Calif., consortium that commissioned the survey. "I now have the data that will justify the faith that we have had in the medium for the past few years."

The survey, conducted in December and January, contacted 6,600 consumers older than 16.

Unlike the conclusions drawn from a similar Nielsen-CommerceNet research effort 18 months earlier, this survey's findings jibe with conventional wisdom about the state of Internet use.

"The results of the survey seem plausible and in line with other research," said Evan M. Cohen, a senior research analyst at Jupiter Communications in New York, which also has investigated the size of the market for electronic commerce and on-line banking. …

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