January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Consumer confidence in online shopping grows

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

The number of consumers buying online increased from 19.4 million in the third quarter of 1999 to 30.3 million in the second quarter of 2000, reports Harris InteractiveÕs e.commercePulse survey. And evidence mounts that consumers are more comfortable staying online to make a purchase rather than browsing online and going offline to a store to buy. Consistent with this trend, Harris Interactive data show that the ratio of online to offline spending is also decreasing over time. In 10 of 12 vertical markets tracked by e.commercePulse, fewer dollars were spent offline (as a result of online shopping) per dollar spent online.

Dollars spent offline for every dollar spent online

Q2'2000 Q1'2000 Q4'1999
---------- --------- ----------
Home/Garden $3.86 $4.29
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Electronics $2.35 $2.37 $2.89
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Toys $2.13 $1.50 $1.75
exception
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Clothing/Apparel $1.92 $2.53 $2.92
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Computer/Hardware/Peripherals $1.36 $1.09 $1.50
exception
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Fitness/Sports Equipment $1.01 $1.60 $2.50
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Computer Software $0.80 $0.91 $0.99
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Travel Services $0.65 $0.76 $1.01
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Health/Beauty $0.56 $0.68 $0.93
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Music/Video $0.46 $0.65 $0.83
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Books $0.45 $0.60 $0.68
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------
Flowers/Gifts/Cards $0.31 $0.43
----------------------------- ---------- --------- ----------

Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive, comments that "the online shopping experience has become a more positive experience for most online shoppers. `Newbies' to the Internet usually start with online browsing and eventually graduate to buying books or CDs online. They discover that online buying is not difficult or scary and that it is actually more fun and convenient than going to the mall." Harris Interactive e.commercePulse is a tracking study of the online and offline shopping and purchasing behaviors and attitudes of roughly 100,000 adult online respondents each quarter. Using Harris Interactive's web-based technology, the survey for the second quarter of 2000 was conducted online with 97,633 adult online users at three different periods over the course of the quarter. The survey covered 266 e-commerce web sites in 13 vertical markets.

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