US Teens Increase Online Shopping

More than 10 million US teenagers will make a purchase online by the year 2002, a dramatic increase from the estimated 2 million teens that shopped online in 1998 and the projection of 3.9 million for 1999, according to eMarketer’s eRetail Report.

According to the report, the number of teenagers age 13-17 who actively use the Web will rise from 11.1 million in 1999 to 15.3 million in 2002. Teen users as a percent of all Internet users in the US will shrink from 16 percent in 1999 to 14.8 percent in 2002.

“There are two reasons for this,” said Geoffrey Ramsey, Statsmaster at eMarketer. “First, the growth in number of teens overall is relatively flat compared with other age groups. Second, while teens quickly embraced the Net between 1996 and 1998, adults are now playing catch up and their numbers are growing at a much faster rate.”

The report also indicates that while teens as a group have significantly greater access to the Web than their adult counterparts, they are currently less likely than adults to actually make purchases online. Teens will spend $161 million online in 1999, representing less than 1 percent of total US online spending. Teen online spending will climb to over $1.4 billion by 2002, representing 2.2 percent of total consumer e-commerce.

“This is primarily a function of access, or lack thereof, to credit cards, the primary currency on the Web,” Ramsey said. “Of course, the continued development and proliferation of ‘e-wallets’ and other forms of parent-controlled digital cash accounts will remove this obstacle over time.”

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