More People Online Without PCs

More than 83 million adults, or 40 percent of the US population age 16 or older, are accessing the Internet, according to the latest numbers from Intelliquest Research.

For the same quarter of 1998, Intelliquest found 66 million US adults were online.

The real story is becoming how these people are accessing the Internet. Once available almost exclusively through a PC, Intelliquest found that 3.7 million Internet users use a handheld computer to access the Internet, while television set-top boxes (such as WebTV) are used by 3.1 million people.

With 41 million people planning to go online in the future, including 17.2 million within 12 months, Intelliquest says accessing the Net through alternative devices should become even more popular.

“Our forecasts indicate that by the year 2000, the market for consumer thin clients and information appliances will exceed $2 billion,” said Clay Rider, VP and Chief Analyst at Intelliquest’s Zona Research division. “PCs will remain an important Internet access staple, but we believe the driving force of the Internet’s continued growth will be the wide availability of non-PC devices that can access information from almost any location in the world.”

Intelliquest’s research also found that Internet users are spending more time online. They average 12.1 hours per week, compared with 10.9 hours per week one year ago. E-mail, obtaining information about a hobby, general news, and information for business are the most popular activities performed online, according to Intelliquest.

There has also been an increase in online shopping and purchasing activity, Intelliquest found, with 56 million people, or nearly 70 percent of the online population shopping online in the last three months. At the same time, 23.5 million, or 28 percent, of the population made a purchase in the last three months, Intelliquest found.

Intelliquest’s numbers come from its Worldwide Internet/Online Tracking Service (WWITSTM), which provides in-depth profiles of Internet and online user demographics, usage patterns, brand awareness, preferences, and growth trends.

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