Lower-Income Households Moving Online

While the number of Internet users with annual household incomes of less than $25,000 has grown nearly 50 percent, outpacing the growth of total Internet users, they still only represent 9.7 percent of the overall online population, according to a study by Media Metrix.

The study also found that lower-income Web users, generally newer to the Internet, tend to be less experienced Web surfers and spend more time online (about 13 hours per month) viewing more unique pages of content. Higher-income users, on the other hand, tend to be more experienced surfers, spending less time — just over 9 hours — and viewing less content (about 550 pages per month in June 2000, compared to 700 for low-income users).

Household income also appears to influence where on the Net people surf. Lower-income groups tend to visit career and auction sites, while higher-income audiences flock to hobby-leisure, auto, sports, and travel sites, according to Media Metrix. It is likely that higher-income Internet users have streamlined their sessions because they have more experience, thus they visit fewer sites and look at less content than lower-income, newer users.

“A recent combination of declines in computer prices and increased Web access in academic and business environments has made the Web more readily available to people, regardless of their household income,” said Anne Rickert, a Media Metrix analyst.

Unique Visitors According to Household Income
June 1999 to June 2000
in thousands Under $25K $25-40K $40-60K $60-75K $75-100K $100K + All WWW
June 1999 4,989 10,170 17,732 8,121 9,304 11,977 61,891
June 2000 7,449 14,245 20,828 9,684 10,506 13,647 76,359
49.3 40.1 17.5 19.2 12.9 13.9 23.4
Source: Media Metrix

Share of US Web Population By Income
percent Under
$25-40K $40-60K $60-75K $75-100K $100K +
June 1999 7.9 16.2 28.3 13.0 14.8 19.7
June 2000 9.7 18.7 27.3 12.7 13.8 17.9
Source: Media Metrix

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