When it comes to actually making purchases, the Internet still lags behind traditional mail order, with only 32% of Americans having purchased directly online, versus 38% who made purchases from mail order catalogs the past year. However, the average number of online transactions per year of online purchasers is three times the average number of transactions per year made by mail order shoppers, thus increasing the overall value of the online purchasers.
Overall, the number of hyper-shoppers now totals 23 million Americans who spend $500 or more both online and offline after first seeking product/service information online, up 50% from 2002. They represent the first generation of true multi-channel consumers who are capitalizing on the convenience and power of online shopping.
Hyper-shoppers rate Web sites as their most valuable way of obtaining product information. Half say the Internet allows them to find better prices and one out of five say it allows them to spend more time with their families. Nearly two-thirds of all hyper-shoppers say the value of the Internet to their purchase decision-making increased in the past 12 months.
Over half of all hyper-shoppers who opened new financial service accounts in the past 12 months first sought information from provider Web sites, making the Internet their information resource of choice. Moreover, one in four hyper-shoppers indicated that online information changed their opinion of specific financial service products or brands. By comparison, among all American consumers who opened financial accounts last year, Web sites ranked fourth in popularity for obtaining product information, behind in-person visits, word of mouth and direct mail flyers.
Hyper-shoppers are predominantly male, college-educated and married. Most work for smaller businesses. Use of high speed broadband access from home is popular among hyper-shoppers, 44% of whom say they go online via cable modem or DSL services from their phone companies.
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