The slight month-to-month differences reversed gains made by e-commerce and search between January and February, resulting in nearly identical figures for January and March.
The monthly "Internet Activity Index" report, compiled with data from Nielsen//NetRatings, showed that in March, Web users spent 17.8 percent of their online time at shopping sites such as eBay, which was comparable to March of 2004 (17.6 percent). The share of time spent browsing online news or entertainment Web sites came to 37.4 percent, up from 35.6 percent in March 2004, but down from the 12-month high of 41 percent in September. Search engines accounted for 4.5 percent of users' Internet time -- up from 3.5 percent in March 2004. Communication represented 40.3 percent of Web time -- down from 43.4 last March.