Internet Confidence Rising
Overall, the Index has risen 13 points to 113 since the study was first conducted in June 2001 (with a starting baseline of 100), and also rose two points compared to the first quarter of 2002. Internet users, particularly those using the Internet daily, continue to express the most confidence in the Internet, though confidence among non-Internet users is on the rise, climbing 15 points over the last year, the study found.
The growing confidence in Internet products and services has also led to consumers' increased intent to shop online. In fact, the results demonstrate a clear correlation between heavier Internet usage, higher confidence levels and higher intended online spending. Next quarter (Q3 2002), 53 percent of Internet users surveyed plan to shop online with an average spend per shopper of $199, compared with 42 percent, and a $184 average spend per shopper, in the same period last year. The total projected amount of money consumers will spend online in the third quarter is $14 billion, up 41 percent over last year, and up slightly from last quarter.
The study shows that consumer attitudes towards the Internet and online shopping have become increasingly positive over the past year. Attitudes about the motivators that drive people to shop online, such as convenience, price comparison and choice are improving, while two of the biggest concerns of a year ago, customer service and delivery of goods, have decreased significantly.
"Based on a year's worth of findings, it is clear that e-commerce and the Internet are becoming more and more a part of American society, both as a mass medium and a standard shopping channel," said Travyn Rhall, managing director, ACNielsen International. "The best example of this mainstream trend is the fact that even those who don't use the Internet are rapidly gaining confidence in the medium, likely attributable to media exposure and word of mouth."
"With a full year of research, we are beginning to see a clear picture emerge about which factors drive people to be most confident about purchasing online," said John Costello, Yahoo!'s chief global marketing officer.
The Index also uncovered that both college-educated users and those with high school education or below rose 13 points in confidence year over year, although college-educated users are significantly more confident in the Internet (129 vs. 97), and are also more likely to spend substantially more money online ($220 vs. $140 in Q3 2002). This can be attributed to exposure to the Internet at higher learning institutions and careers with regular Internet access.