July 8, 2003, 12:00 AM

Buying online becoming a mainstream activity, says Forrester

A projected 63 million U.S. households will buy online by 2008, almost doubling last year’s 34 million households. 66% go online to research purchases before buying.

Projected to reach an estimated 63 million U.S. households by 2008, online buying is moving increasingly toward the mainstream, according to Forrester Research Inc.’s latest consumer benchmark study for North America. That almost doubles the 34 million households that were buying online in 2002.

 

The typical web buyer has been purchasing online for about three years, spending about $300 online in the past three months, from household income of more than $70,000 per year. 15% had purchased books online in the previous three months – the most frequently reported online purchase – followed by 12% who purchased apparel, and 12% who purchased airline tickets. Music, purchased online by 10% of web buyers, was another leading product category for online sales, as were videos, DVDs and software, purchased by 9% of web buyers; toys, 8%; and flowers, cards and gifts, 7%.

The Forrester data show that the online channel is coming into its own not just as a way to buy but also to research purchases and other opportunities. 66% of online households have researched products online for purchase. 52% go online to contact customer service by e-mail, while 36% go online to research free products or find coupons.

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