Biz Leaders Prefer Web

The Web is proving to be an indispensable tool for global executives, as a pair of joint studies conducted by Survey.com for Forbes.com and GartnerG2 indicate.

The September 2003 study points to the Web as the preferred medium, with 51 percent of executives naming it as the most important business information resource. The report includes interviews with more than 2,800 respondents, including 1,721 presidents, CEOs, and board members; 236 vice presidents; and 154 other C-level executives, to determine their key issues.

According to the responses, Web usage is taking a bite out of other types of media. Relative to the amount of time spent on the Web – not including email – most of the survey participants noted that their time with newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and trade publications has lessened.


Percentage Spending Less Time
with Media Due to Web Usage
Daily newspapers 52%
Magazines 60%
TV 49%
Radio 47%
Industry trade publications 48%
Source: Forbes.com and GartnerG2

Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO, Forbes.com, says, “This new data supports a growing body of evidence that we’ve arrived at an inflection point in the media consumption patterns between online and offline media. We can now unequivocally point to the Web as a primary business information resource for today’s business leaders.”

The interviewed execs show little concern about online security, with 68 percent indicating that they use online banking services to pay bills and manage accounts, yet far fewer – 39 percent – buy or sell stocks or other financial investments online. Internet ads aren’t ignored by this group, as 61 percent stated that they respond to online advertising when they find something interesting.

A separate joint Forbes.com/GartnerG2 March 2003 study of more than 11,000 respondents – including nearly 3,900 C-level executives – offers a revealing look into how the Web is used during an average workday. Nearly half (46 percent) of all respondents access the Web before heading to the office, and before reading the newspaper, as do an even higher percentage of C-level execs (53 percent).

The overwhelming majority of executives check their own email, rather than allowing an assistant to perform the task, and more than half of the respondents preferred doing their own online research as well.


Product Searching
Activity All Respondents C-level Respondents
Research competition and industry trends 30% 37%
Go to the Web first for product/service information 30% 34%
Read work-related marketing emails 26% 28%
Seek new partnership opportunities 19% 24%
Source: Forbes.com and GartnerG2


Information Consumption
Activity All Respondents C-level Respondents
I forward interesting online articles to friends/associates 38% 40%
Before I do work, I visit the Web for biz/financial news 30% 35%
I check my portfolio online 27% 33%
I read biz/financial site email newsletters 31% 37%
I participate in online chats 12% 10%
Source: Forbes.com and GartnerG2

There were some disparities noted in how the entire group of respondents conducted transactions online, compared to the C-level executives. More C-level execs downloaded software (55 percent vs. 51 percent); requested service help with products (34 percent vs. 29 percent); and participated in online auctions (28 percent vs. 23 percent). C-level executives had less inclination to use Web-based emails, instant messenger services, and download music files than the whole population of participants.

The Forbes.com/GartnerG2 study found that business leaders are also using the Web for non-job related functions, with 40 percent looking for health and medical information; 31 percent looking up movie times and weekend leisure locations; 39 percent reading reviews about products or entertainment options; and 40 percent visiting local or city guides.

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