E-Commerce Equals Convenience, Risk to Consumers

Two out of three Web users in the United States who’ve purchased goods online are concerned about protecting personal and financial information, hindering some from greater shopping sprees.

A report released this week by Pew Internet & American Life Project on online shopping looks at Internet users’ attitudes about shopping on the Web. The report finds inconstancies in stance when it comes to e-commerce. “They are willing to shop online because it is convenient and a time-saver, but they also do not like sending personal or credit card information over the Internet,” the report states.

Three-quarters of those surveyed don’t like sending personal or credit card information over the Internet. Yet 78 percent find shopping online convenient and 68 percent agree it saves time.

Shopping online, and researching products online, has increased since 2000. In 2000, 22 percent of Americans had bought a product online. The rate grew to 49 percent in 2007. For product-related research, 35 percent had used the Internet in 2000, and 60 percent in 2007. Pew cites the Census Bureau to report revenues for online sales increased at a faster rate than the number of people using the Intenet to do research and transact. Census data place revenues from $7.4 billion in the third quarter of 2000 to $34.7 billion in the third quarter of 2007.

The data are findings from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a sample of 2,400 adults 18 and older.

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