April 24, 2001, 12:00 AM

Nielsen//NetRatings says half of all Americans buy online

The latest numbers from the Nielsen//NetRatings services says half the U.S. population buys online.

Nielsen//NetRatings, an Internet audience measurement service, and Internet market researcher Harris Interactive say 48.2% of the U.S. population over 18 years old--or 100.2 million people--have made an online purchase. The figures come from Nielsen and Harris’s March 2001 online survey of 39,000 web users. Of those adults who have web access, 81.2% have made an online purchase since they started using the Internet. Consumers spent more than $3.5 billion online in March, up 35.6% from $2.6 billion in April 2000. Online travel, which spiked 58.5% to more than $1 billion in March 2001, and clothing and apparel, which increased 122.3% to $368 million, accounted for more than half the growth. The study also shows that Amazon.com led the e-commerce market in March, with 15.1% of all online buyers, while eBay came in second with 14.5% of all online buyers. BMG Entertainment (4.3%), Barnes & Noble (3.8%) and Columbia House (3.7%) rounded out the top five rankings.

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