Online Buyers to Double by End of 1999

Approximately one-third of all Internet users have made a purchase on the Internet in the past year, according to eMarketer’s eCommerce study. The study also found that the consumer-directed segment of e-commerce, despite being dwarfed by business-to-business in sheer dollar size, will grow significantly over the next several years.

Over the past year, 16.8 million Americans have purchased at least one product or service online, according to eMarketer. These online buyers represent 7.8 percent of all Americans age 14 and over and 31 percent of all active Internet users. By year-end 1999, however, the number of online buyers will double to 36.1 million, or 16.6 percent of the U.S. population 14 and older.

By the year 2002, eMarketer says the U.S. will have 63.7 million online buyers, representing nearly one-third, or 28.4 percent, of all Americans 14 and older.

While eMarketer has found that 16.8 million Americans are actually buying online today, nearly double that figure, or 33.1 million are “window shopping” — browsing, researching, and comparison shopping for goods and services over the web. According to CyberDialogue, some 9 million shoppers will buy items offline during the 1998 holiday season after first gathering information online.

An earlier study by Jupiter Communications found that 35 percent of the online population did purchase a product or service in the last year and those buyers were very satisfied with their shopping experience. Almost 95 percent of those buyers said they plan to shop more online in coming months.

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