January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Web newbies ready to shop

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Internet users with less than six months' experience say they're confident about shopping online, according to a recent study by NPD Online Research (www.npd.com). Of 4,601 respondents new to the Web, 62% plan to complete part of their holiday purchasing online, a 100% jump from last year's survey. Most expect to spend between $100 and $300.

New online shoppers plan to buy from merchants most familiar to them, with the top five identified as Amazon.com, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, eToys.com, and Barnes & Noble. Despite this growing comfort, those surveyed say security and trust are still concerns. More than a quarter say they're avoiding online purchasing as a result. Among other concerns, the need to see merchandise before buying it is deterring 23% from shopping online, while high shipping costs are turning away 10%.

Convenience (29%), price specials (20%), avoiding crowds (18%) and curiosity (16%) are key drivers for new online shoppers, according to the study.

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