Women have reached another cyber-milestone, for the first time becoming the majority of those shopping online in both the just-passed holiday season and in 2001 in general.
A survey released Tuesday also shows that the Internet drew substantially more Americans to buy gifts online this season, and those that did spent more on average than in prior years.
"Online shopping continues to grow as a popular Internet activity," said a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a nonprofit endeavor to explore the effect of the Internet on society.
Among the survey's findings:
- In 2000, women surpassed men as the majority of Internet users, but remained in the minority of online shoppers. That changed this holiday season - calculated by Pew as running from Nov. 19 to Dec. 23, 2001 - when 52 percent of online consumers were women. In December 2000, men reigned, with 52 percent of all shoppers. - In all, 26 percent of Internet users, or about 29 million people, bought gifts online this holiday season. Last season, just 20 percent, or 20 million people, did.
- The average online shopper spent $392 this holiday season, compared to $330 in the 2000 season. - Those with higher incomes were more likely to shop online. Only 15 percent of those with household incomes under $30,000 bought via the internet, while 39 percent of those making more than $75,000 did. - One-third of Internet users said they did at least some of their holiday shopping via the Internet while at work. - Of those Internet users who did not buy gifts online this year, 36 percent said they didn't want to risk using their credit cards online. Eighteen percent said they simply were not interested in shopping online while 10 percent said they wanted to be able to see items before they purchased them.
The survey was based on telephone interviews with 4,052 randomly selected American adults, of which 2,364 were Internet users, between Nov. 19 and Dec. 23, 2001. The results come with a plus- or minus-2 percentage point sampling error rate.
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