Metrics Briefs

EVERYDAY E-COMMERCE: Most online buyers aren't regular Net shoppers. According to ActivMedia Research, only two of out of every five online buyers use the Net to purchase consumables - items that are bought often and used up quickly. The biggest consumable category for 2000 will be health care and beauty products, predicts ActivMedia. Sales of those goods will bring in around $11 billion, up from about $4.5 billion in 1999.

KEEP 'EM COMING BACK: E-commerce buyer retention may already be a problem.

According to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, 15 percent of almost 800 online buyers surveyed since 1997 no longer purchased online in 1998.

WILL FILING BECOME LESS TAXING?: Slightly over 1 million tax returns will be prepared online this year, predicts Forrester Research. That number represents 1 percent of the total tax returns. By 2007, the IRS hopes to have 80 percent of returns filed electronically. For the IRS to reach that goal, suggests Forrester, online filing will need to be free and easy.

MAKE ROOM IN THE MAILBOX: U.S. consumer e-mail volume is expected to increase from 132 billion messages in 1999 to almost 432 billion in 2003, says Jupiter Communications. All that mail has home users firmly in the habit of checking their electronic in-boxes. Currently, about 96 percent of home users check e-mail at least once a month; more than half of consumers use instant messaging services monthly.

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