An Ernst & Young LLP survey released last week at the National Retail Federation Conference here showed substantial growth in the number of consumers interested in buying goods online and the number of manufacturers and retailers looking to tap into that interest.
The study of 1363 consumers, 74 manufacturers and 41 retailers found that 10 per cent of US households purchased goods online last year, up from 7 per cent in 1997. The study offered evidence that online shopping is becoming something of a habit for people who have taken the plunge.
In 1998, 38 per cent of online shoppers surfed for goods between five to 10 times, while in 1997, only 13 per cent shopped on the Internet that frequently.
Online shoppers are also spending more, the report found. While in 1997, 45 per cent of cybershoppers spent less than $US100, only 34 per cent spent less than that amount in 1998. Meanwhile, the percentage of shoppers spending more than $300 last year was 35 per cent, up 9 percentage points from 1997's figures.
Computer-related products and books captured shoppers' attention more frequently than any other product categories, with 39 per cent of households making such purchases.