Two-Thirds of Americans Online

Sixty-four percent of Americans age 12 or older have used the Internet in the past year, according to research by ACNielsen. Almost half of these Internet users (31 percent of all US residents age 12 or over) report going online everyday.

ACNielsen’s Homescan Net*Views Survey of nearly 40,000 individuals also found that while using email is the most common Internet-related activity, cited by 86 percent of Internet users, nearly half have purchased a product or service online. Of those, 13 percent, or approximately 4 percent of the US population age 12 or older say they have purchased a grocery or drug product online.

Top Items Purchased Online
Books 42%
CDs/DVDs/Videos 38%
Other 37%
Clothing/Apparel 27%
Specialty Gift Items 24%
Computer Hardware 18%
Entertainment Services 17%
Houseware Items 16%
Grocery or
Drug Products
Source: ACNielsen

“Our survey indicates that among Internet users who have never purchased anything online, a surprising 80 percent said they are ‘not at all likely’ to purchase grocery or drug products online in the future,” said Robert Tomei. “However, we expect that to change quite a bit over the next five years as Internet grocery shopping becomes more widely available.”

Of those who purchased a grocery or drug product online, 94 percent said they were either very or somewhat satisfied with the experience. Sixty-seven percent said they are very likely to purchase another grocery or drug product online in the next 12 months.

The most frequently mentioned reason for purchasing a grocery or drug product online was saving money (53 percent), edging out convenience-related reasons such as the ability to shop anytime of day or night (50 percent) and home delivery (49 percent).

Brick-and-mortar retailers will take heart at the most often-cited reason for not purchasing anything online: the simple preference for the tactile experience of shopping at a store.

Among other key findings of the survey:

  • 69 percent of Internet users go online most often at home, 17 percent at work, 7 percent at school/place of study, 5 percent at a friend/relative’s house, and 2 percent at a library
  • 44 percent of Internet users are online an hour or more in an average day when they use the Internet
  • Wired households (those with at least one member age 12 or older using the Internet) tend to be larger, more affluent, and better educated than non-wired households.

Multiple household members from nearly 21,000 ACNielsen Homescan households completed the Net*Views survey, which was mailed in January 2000. Results are projectable to the total US population age 12 and older.

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