February 27, 2002, 12:00 AM

More consumers are buying online, but response to banner ads is plummeting

The number of Americans who’ve shopped online has tripled in three years, says a new study, while the click-through rate on banners has dropped by half in one year.

The number of online users responding to banner adds is dropping sharply, according to a new study by Artibtron Inc. and Edison Media Research. The percentage of consumers polled by Arbitron who clicked through on a banner ad in January of this year declined to 14% from 31% in January 2001. In addition, more consumers find banner ads to be more annoying than either audio or video ads streamed on the web. 52% consider banner ads to be more annoying than audio ads while 30% considered audio ads more annoying. And 53% found banner ads to be more objectionable than streaming video ads, while only 25% had a greater objection to video ads than banners.

The study found that the number of Americans who’ve ever bought anything online has tripled in the last three years, rising to 40% in January from 13% in January 1999. And more than one in five Americans now shops online regularly, with 22% making an online purchase in January, an increase of 39% from January last year.

In other findings, consumers’ adoption of broadband Internet at home continued to rise. In one year, the percentage of users with broadband access at home nearly doubled to 21% in January from 12% last year. Weekly Internet usage is almost universal-–89%--in broadband homes.


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