IntelliQuest Information Group Inc. reported its latest survey of the U.S. population’s use of the Internet and online services shows 62 million adults, or 30% of the U.S. population age 16 and older, were online as of the fourth quarter of 1997.
This represents a 32% increase from the 46.8 million users reported in the study one year ago.
The company said growth of the online population is expected to remain strong, with 7 million adults reporting plans to go online within the next six months. If these people follow-through with their intentions, the number of wired U.S. residents could approach 70 million by midyear. This would amount to a doubling of the online population from when IntelliQuest began studying the medium in the second quarter of 1996.
The fourth quarter marked the first time that Internet/online services users accounted for more than half of computer users, as compared to only 40% one year ago. This increase underscores the growing role of the Internet in users’ business and personal lives, the company said.
The Internet/PC user percentage is expected to increase as the Internet continues to be integrated into everyday life activities such as communication, shopping, and information retrieval.
Another key finding is that the popularity of online services among new users is eroding. One year ago, approximately 70% of users first accessed through an online service, whereas this holds true for only 61% of today’s users.
Furthermore, when asked what type of provider they would prefer, users’ and intenders’ first choice of providers was an ISP, followed by their local telephone company, and then a commercial online service.
These results come from IntelliQuest’s Worldwide Internet/Online Tracking Service report, which generates in-depth profiles of Internet and online user demographics, usage patterns, brand awareness, satisfaction rates, and growth trends.
The study also found that while only 17% of users purchase goods and services online, almost 60% shop online. The most popular shopping activities include finding information about a product’s price or features, checking on product selection, and determining where to purchase a product.
Results of IntelliQuest’s Worldwide Internet/Online Tracking Service are available on a subscription basis. Full-service subscriptions include access to the entire data set through detailed cross tabulations, graphical reports with market findings, and custom analysis. Summarized results are also available.