January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Brand New Online Numbers

More than 40% of online adults, 24.3 million, have changed their impressions of brands based on online information, up 66% from 14.6 million in 1998, according to online research firm Cyber Dialogue. For online shoppers, autos are the product most likely to have brand names influenced by the Internet (21%), followed by airlines (20%), investments (13%) and household items (12%). Also, 24% of online automobile shoppers state that online information led to a purchase of a different brand of automobile than they might otherwise have made. The number is 14% for both travel and insurance online shoppers.

Manufacturer sites (70%) and comparison shopping sites (69%) are the most commonly cited online sources that changed the brand impressions of online shoppers. In all categories except "household items," a greater proportion of online shoppers in 1999 versus 1998 report that online information has changed their impression of specific brands. Some 42% of online shoppers now report that online information has changed brand impressions, up from 35% in 1998, says New York City-based Cyber Dialogue.

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