January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Einstein Online

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Despite the recent failure of some high-profile e-tailers, online shopping continues to thrive, especially in the U.S., reveals an IMPACT 2000 survey released by Datamonitor, New York. With an increase in Internet experience, consumers gain confidence and spend more minutes and money online, it says. The market analysis firm has borrowed an e-commerce formula from physics to describe this phenomenon, E=MC2, where expenditure (E) is equal to minutes online (M) times confidence-squared (C2). The U.S., where some 78% of respondents described themselves as Internet experts, leads the world with a 63% Internet buy rate. Germany ranks second with a 49% buy rate, the UK is third at 48%, Sweden is fourth at 45%, while France at 29% and Spain at 27% round out the top six. Buy rates declined with level of experience. The buy rate for self-professed Internet experts was 57%, compared to the 26% buy rate for starters. E-commerce consumers are extremely brand loyal across all consumer-product categories. In fact, more than 90% of shoppers say they intend to reorder from a site they had used previously.

"This formula [E=MC2] proves that the business-to-consumer e-tailing sector is anything but dead," says Geoff Doggart, global eCommerce program manager for Datamonitor's Technology Practice. "We know customers are brand loyal, so the next step will be for retailers to focus on confidence-building measures such as ease-of-use, fulfillment and service." Other findings include:

  • The online population--51% women and 49% men--is now aligned with the demographics of the overall populations.
  • Baby boomers lead the U.S. in online shopping with a 46% buy rate.
  • Media related items--CDs, music, videos, DVDs etc.--have the highest buy rate at 67%.
  • 18-to-24-year-old Americans have the highest online penetration rate.
  • Married/living with a partner respondents have the highest buy rate at 61%.


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