May 31, 2005, 12:00 AM

New online buyers earn less and spend less, study says

While novice online buyers may appear to be similar to more experienced web purchasers, there are some major underlying differences, says a new report from Forrester Research.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

While novice online buyers may appear to be similar to more experienced web purchasers, there are some major underlying differences between the two, says a new report from Forrester Research.

New online buyers-those who started buying online in the past year-account for about 20% of online buyers, Forrester says in its report “Winning Over New Web Buyers.”

A shopper new to the Internet has an average age of 44 and an average household size of 2.76, similar to a more experienced web buyer. They’re also just as likely to be female or married or partnered as the average web buyer, Forrester says.

But a novice buyer on average earns 13% less annually than the average web buyer and over a three-month time span spends $175 less online, the report says. They’re also 41% less likely to have a college degree.

What’s more, new web buyers are the least satisfied with their most recent online purchases, with only 83% saying they were happy with their most recent purchase. That compares with 85% of shoppers buying online between one and four years and 90% of shoppers buying online for four or more years, Forrester says. “This group is not only the least likely to return to the web site where they made their most recent purchase, but they’re also the least likely to refer that site to a friend,” the report says.

Novice online buyers also are more fearful about card security, with only 23% saying they think their credit cards are secure for online purchases. That compares with 33% of those who have purchased online between one and four years, and 46% of those shopping online for four or more years, Forrester says.

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