March 18, 2005, 12:00 AM

With a mature U.S. market, Internet retailers must look abroad for growth

With U.S. Internet users’ time spent online at home trending downward, online retailers will have to turn to emerging markets overseas for growth, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

 

With U.S. Internet users’ time spent online at home trending downward, online retailers will have to turn to emerging markets overseas for growth, according to Nielsen/NetRatings’ February research into global Internet use. Countries experiencing double-digit increases in time spent online at home were Hong Kong (25%), France (19%), Italy (15%), Japan (12%) and Australia (10%). That compares with a 2% decline in the U.S.

Americans spend on average nearly 14 hours online each month, which is close to the worldwide averages, Nielsen/NetRatings found. Of the 12 countries surveyed, Internet users in Hong Kong spent the longest time online-about 22 hours. At the lower end, Italians logged on an average 8 hours a month.

“The easiest opportunities are in countries where Internet usage patterns and user/site relationships are less established,” says Kaizad Gotla, senior Internet analyst. “Acquiring users in markets that are currently in their growth stages will lead to a loyal user base that will pay dividends to Internet companies in the future.”

In terms of monthly user sessions, emerging markets showing double-digit growth were Hong Kong (26%), France (17%), Australia (15%) and Italy (10%). The U.S. experienced no growth and ranked second to the last of the 12 countries.

 

 

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