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Nearly One-Third of Internet Users Engage in E-Commerce
By Michael Pastore

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Nearly one out of every three (31 percent) Internet users are making online purchases, and they are sticking to familiar, inexpensive items, according to a study by CDB Research & Consulting Inc.

Items such as books (purchased by 33 percent of respondents), CDs (26 percent), and small gifts (20 percent) remain the most popular online purchases, CDB found. The study also found that certain big ticket items, such as airline tickets and computer hardware, are being accepted by online consumers. Airline tickets were purchased online by 21 percent of the survey respondents , and 13 percent purchased computer hardware online.

"When it comes to e-commerce, consumers clearly prefer well-defined items, those with which they are already familiar," said Ann Middleman, vice president of CDB. "Online shoppers tend to stick to known quantities. A John Grisham book is a John Grisham book and a ticket to Chicago is a ticket to Chicago."

Most Common Online Purchases
Books 33%
CDs 26%
Airline tickets 21%
Small gifts 20%
Computer hardware 13%

Source: CDB Research and Consulting

In accordance with most every other survey on e-commerce, CDB found that convenience is clearly the driving factor for e-commerce. According to the survey, 30 percent of online shoppers are attracted by the ability to shop at home, while 25 percent cited the ability to shop at any time of the day or night. Price was another factor, with 18 percent using the Internet to find the best prices.

Women are more likely to look for convenience when shopping online, CDB found, while men tend to use the Internet to look for hard-to-find items. According to CDB, 20 percent of women and 16 percent of men say they are looking for the best prices when shopping online.

More than half (52 percent) of the online shoppers surveyed said they spent less than $100 online in the past month. However, nearly half (47 percent) of the women surveyed spent more than $100 in the past month, compared to only 23 percent of the men. Women, the survey found, also tend to buy a wider variety of items over the Internet. August 11, 1999

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