Women buying more online, study finds
June 24, 1999
The original version of this story incorrectly stated that new research from CommerceNet Consortium and Nielsen Media Research Inc. indicated that women are buying more online than men. Actually, the study stated that for the first time in two years, online purchases made by women are starting to spike. In fact, the growth rate for the number of women making purchases online has surpassed the growth rate for men, according to CommerceNet. But overall, the number of online purchases being made by women has not yet exceeded that of men.
by Nancy Dillon
(IDG) -- For the first time in two years, more online purchases are being made by women, according to new research from CommerceNet Consortium in Cupertino, Calif., and New York-based Nielsen Media Research Inc.
In a report titled "April 1999 Internet Demographic Survey,'' the two companies reported that over a recent nine-month period, the number of online purchases made by women increased 80%.
The number of women buyers increased more than 100% in four of the top five purchasing categories: those who purchased books increased 105%; CDs/videos, 145%; clothing, 118%; and computer hardware, 160%. The fifth purchasing category, travel, had an increase of 63%.
Automobiles and automotive parts top the list for items shopped for -- though not necessarily purchased -- online by all Net users in the U.S. and Canada, the report stated. Distant but strong runners-up are books, computers, clothing and CDs/videos.
Breaking results down by gender, the report found that automobiles, automotive parts and computers were the most popular shopping areas for men. Clothing and books sites were top shopping destinations for women.
"We found that the Web is a huge source of information in comparison-shopping,'' said Peri Drucker, a spokesperson for CommerceNet. Drucker said because of this trend, many companies are adapting their strategies to respond to a more informed consumer.
"More and more sites are offering all sorts of fascinating details that you didn't get before,'' Drucker said. While many online retailers continue to "just put pictures up'' and call it a day, the ones that are most likely to succeed offer a large depth of information on product differentiation, she said.
CommerceNet's findings fall in line with a February online shopping report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Forrester's report, titled "New-Car Buying Races On-line,'' found that more than 2 million consumers used the Internet to research their new-car purchases last year. The report also predicted that by 2003, nearly 8 million new-car purchases will be influenced by the Internet and nearly half a million new cars will be purchased entirely online.
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