ad info
   personal technology

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards





Internet shopping grows in popularity

Almost two-thirds of Internet users bought something online in recent months, according to a new survey.

October 7, 1998
Web posted at 3:00 PM EDT

by Chris Yurko

(IDG) -- Even before the formal kickoff of this year's holiday season, Internet shopping has become strikingly popular, according to a survey from Greenfield Online.

The Westport, Connecticut marketing research company found 63 percent of the 2400 Internet users it surveyed in August said they had purchased something on line during the previous 90 days. That figure leaped from 47 percent in April, according to the survey, an overall increase of 34 percent.

"More and more people on line are shopping," said Sue Hines, Greenfield Online's syndicated projects manager. "It's not a minority activity anymore but a majority activity."

  PC World home page
  FileWorld find free software fast
  Make your PC work harder with these tips
 Reviews & in-depth info at's desktop PC page's portable PC page's Windows software page's personal news page
  Questions about computers? Let's editors help you
  Subscribe to's free daily newsletter for computer geniuses(& newbies)
  Search in 12 languages
 News Radio
  Fusion audio primers
  Computerworld Minute

The items Internet shoppers purchased most often: computer software (26 percent), books (25 percent), airline tickets (23 percent), computer hardware (21 percent). Online shoppers also banked on the Net (25 percent), made hotel or travel plans (12 percent), and traded securities (12 percent). Few, though, bought cars (7 percent) or food (4 percent); 41 percent said they had participated in an on-line auction.

On average, this digital consumer earns $52,000, is male (61 percent), is about 35 years old and spends about 17 hours a week online, the survey showed. Hines attributed the big four-month jump to greater ease among consumers about security. "People realize it's just as dangerous giving out credit card numbers over the telephone," she said.

Plus, traditional retailers like The Gap have begun hawking their wares on the Net, and Internet-exclusive companies like are becoming household names. "People are feeling that these are mainstream organizations and not fly-by- nights," she said.

The trend revealed by Greenfield Online's results appears consistent with other Internet shopping studies, though e-commerce expert George Nezlek is not ready to concede that a majority of people who use the Internet should be labeled Internet shoppers.

"I think a lot of people are ready to use the Web to help them make purchases but it's not clear that a majority of Web users have bought into the Web-based transaction ... as their preferred method of doing business," said Nezlek, an assistant professor of management information science at Loyola University.

More interesting statistics would count the number of repeat buyers, Nezlek said. In fact, Greenfield Online's survey did: 46 percent of respondents said they had made two or more purchases in the past 90 days; 32 percent had made three or more.

Related stories:
Latest Headlines

Today on CNN

Related stories:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not
endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Enter keyword(s)   go    help


Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.