Online Auction Trust Increasing

Online auction participation and satisfaction levels remained high during the second quarter of 2000, according to a study by Greenfield Online, despite the FBI report that online auctions receive more fraud complaints than any other Internet business.

Greenfield Online’s quarterly “Digital Consumer Shopping Index” found that online auction participation (44 percent) is on par with last quarter and slightly ahead of the same quarter last year. Overall satisfaction is strong among bidders and sellers alike, Greenfield found.

The July study of more than 4,000 experienced US Internet users found that 80 percent of auction participants have purchased an item from an online auction. Nearly one-third of participants (32 percent) have auctioned an item. The main reason bidders purchase items at online auctions is fir good deals (74 percent), to choose the highest price they are willing to pay (62 percent) and to have fun (55 percent).

Sellers use online auctions primarily to make a profit or get their money back on an item (74 percent), top get rid of items they no longer use or need (71 percent) and to reach potential buyers who want the item (61 percent).

According to a report by cPulse, online auctions have surged in popularity because consumer trust has risen. But more and more of the visitors to online auction sites are driven by curiosity, and are unlikely to become valuable repeat visitors. In the first quarter of 2000, 8 percent of auction traffic was first time visitors, by the second quarter, it had risen to 26 percent. What cPulse discovered in its research is that many of the first-time auction visitors from the second quarter of 2000 were unlikely to return to the auction regardless of their experience.

Trustworthiness was the most undelivered attribute among defecting online auction users in the first quarter of 2000. In the second quarter it was down to No. 6 on the list. Consumers main gripes now lie with product descriptions and the ease of locating products.

cPulse’s Q1 2000 data is based on 72,842 responses collected between the dates of Jan. 1 and March 31, 2000. The Q2 data is based on 137,160 responses collected from April 1, 2000 to June 30, 2000. The responses were gathered from 23 Web sites.

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