Books Are Among Bestsellers

New media is instrumental in traditional media sales, according to research that reveals the large number of Internet shoppers who are buying books online. The biannual consumer survey by Vertis found that books were purchased by 43 percent of online American shoppers during 2002, although that figure has declined by 4 percent since 2000.

The second biggest seller, CDs, trailed considerably at 29 percent – down from 35 percent in 2000 – followed by home electronics at 25 percent, which tallied a 4 percent increase since 2000.

Toys were the biggest gainers, according to Vertis, racking up 9 points from 2000 to 23 percent.

The “Books/Music/Video” category revealed the largest increase – a whopping 76 percent – during the week of November 22 to 29, 2002, according to Nielsen//Netratings’ Holiday eCommerce Index. “Apparel” was a distant second with a 61 percent increase, followed by “Virtual Department Stores,” measuring a 51 percent jump.

“Black Friday” 2002 sales tabulations from National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed that 41 percent of purchases were for books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games, followed closely by clothing or clothing accessories at 40.4 percent.

Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) estimated book sale revenues to reach $2.6 billion in 2002, growing to $4 billion by 2006. Jupiter theorizes that book growth with slow considerably due to the segment’s advanced maturity and those that have dominated the channel are likely to spend less on books than the more affluent early adopters.

Research from the firm indicated that books would be the top holiday category for online shoppers in 2002, with slightly more women than men planning to make the purchases (51 percent vs. 49 percent).

On the European front, Jupiter found that consumer electronics will reach 40 percent of total spending in November and December 2002, followed by PCs at 37 percent, and books, videos, and music at a combined 34 percent.

Interestingly, while millions of online consumer are buying books, Jupiter found that more Americans spend time watching TV, going online, listening to the radio, and playing games than they did reading books in 2002.

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