The number of people in the U.S. accessing the Internet via broadband connections from their homes surpassed 100 million in May, coinciding with increased usage of RSS feeds and weblogs, Nielsen/NetRatings reports.
Increased use of broadband Internet access is also helping to drive up online retail sales, and is one major factor that will push online retail sales past $100 billion for the first time this year, according to comScore Networks Inc.
The number of U.S. consumers accessing the web from home broadband connections hit 102.5 million in May, up 30% from 78.6 million in May of 2005, Nielsen said. They accounted for 72% of all active web users in May, up from 57% a year ago. Nielsen defines active web users as anyone who has used the web during the month of review. It defines broadband as an Internet connection speed of 56K or higher.
Home narrowband users, meanwhile, declined 31% in May to 40.3 million from 58.8 million a year ago. They accounted for 28% of active web users in May, down from 43%.
The expanded use of broadband puts pressure on web site operators to meet related changes in consumer demand for broadband-support web-based services, said Jon Gibs, senior director of media, Nielsen/NetRatings. “It makes sense that broadband users are more likely to adopt new Internet technologies such as RSS feeds and blogging,” Gibs said. “Their faster connections allow them to make better use of the web technologies available and to view more web pages quickly and easily. Now it is up to the web sites providing RSS feeds to maximize the broadband connection.” RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, provides a way for retailers and other web site operators to send information directly to consumers’ computers without using e-mail.
Continued growth in broadband usage will come as consumers see the value of accessing bandwidth-absorbing video services over the Internet, Gibs said. “Although we are not seeing the explosive month-over-month growth we once were, the market for broadband Internet connection has not yet reached saturation,” he said. “We`re past the point where decreasing prices and increasing availability will move the needle for providers; the remaining consumers will be pushed to broadband as the Internet continues to move beyond text-based information to a comprehensive source for video.”