January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Who's spending the most time online?

Here's a new challenge for retailers trying to attract shoppers who will buy a lot online: The heaviest users of the Internet tend to be lower income, less educated blue collar workers. Those with a lower income and education, and employed in mainly a blue-collar profession spent 11-12 hours online in June, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, an Internet audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research, ACNielsen eRatings.com and NetRatings, Inc. In comparison, the average time spent online across all demographics was 9 hours during the same time period. The high-user group's income ranged from $21,000-33,000, and has a grade school and/or high school education. Many work in blue collar, service and farming. "Our data show that this group comprises mostly blue-collar workers, who may not have as great an opportunity to use the Internet during the day at work compared to office workers," says Peggy O'Neill, group manager and senior analyst, NetRatings. "So it's likely that most of their Web surfing has to be done at home." The Nielsen//NetRatings PRIZM measuring service data indicates that those who spent the least amount of time online in June, about 7.5 hours, were affluent with an income range of $53,000-$136,000, worked in white-collar professions, and attended college.

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