December 17, 2002, 12:00 AM

With online tools, consumers value some significantly more than others

Younger consumers and those with more years of experience online view all online shopping tools as more valuable than do older or less experienced online shoppers, Forrester Research reports.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

The value consumers place on different online shopping tools depends to a large extent on their age, income, education level and tenure online, according to new findings from Forrester Research Inc.

Younger online consumers–-under 35--placed greater value on a variety of online tools across the board, Forrester found. Some 60%, for example, said they value online tools that offer the capacity to zoom in on a product, versus less than 50% of those aged 35–45 and less than 40% of those aged 55 and over. Years of experience online also was correlated with the value consumers placed on online tools. About 40% of those had been online for less than a year said they value zoom, a percentage that rose with consumers` tenure online and peaked at more than 60% with 5-6 years of online experience.

Though enthusiasm for various online shopping tools in general tended to be higher among both younger consumers and those with more experience online, consumers across all groups rated some tools more useful than others. Of the 84% of consumers polled by Forrester who said they were familiar with zoom capacity online, 45% said they found zoom valuable. Of the 81% who were familiar with tools that offer multiple views of a product, 41% found them valuable. The numbers dropped in relation to shoppers’ familiarity with and perceived value of other tools, including the 79% who knew and 34% who valued the ability to rotate products online, 75% who new and 20% who valued streaming video of products, and 68% who knew and 17% who valued virtual model technology.

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