38 Million Americans Getting Wired

Internet users in the United States will more closely resemble the average American in the future, according to a recent study.

Almost 40 million Americans are planning to go online, where they will join the 72.6 million American adults that already have Internet access, according to the third quarter results of the 1998 Worldwide Internet/Online Tracking Service (WWITSTM) by Intelliquest.

Once a haven for the upper-middle class and the well educated, the Internet will be home to mainstream America when the newest Net users get wired. The report found that 51 percent of those planning to get Internet access are over the age of 35. Almost half (49 percent) of the group have a high school education or less. More than half of those planning to go online (58 percent) make less than $50,000 a year.

The Pew Research Center did a telephone survey of 3,184 US adults and found that those who are new to the Internet go online more often than experienced users. It also found that 23 percent of those who have gone online in the previous year make less than $30,000/year. Almost half (45 pecent) of those making more than $50,000 went online more than a year ago.

ZD Market Intelligence has reported that almost one-third of US households connected to the Internet has an annual income of $75,000 or greater, and over a quarter has completed post graduate studies.

As far as the 72.6 million Americans already online, Intelliquest says that 70 percent of them access the Net from home, and 43 percent of them access it from work at least part of the time.

More than 45 million online Americans report shopping over the Internet, but only 16 million are buying online, Intelliquest reports. Consistent with previous studies, most (60 percent) of the shoppers surveyed say convenience drives them to shop online, and more than 40 percent say it saves time. The concerns they have about shopping online include security, return hassles, fear of spam, and the desire to see the merchandise in person. As usual, books and computer products were the most popular purchases.

The Intelliquest research also found that 60 percent of American computer users are wired to the Internet.

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