Forrester: Buyers spent US$3.4B online in February

Despite the current economic slow down, consumer online spending increased substantially in February from January as well as from the year-earlier figure, according to a study conducted by Forrester Research. The study, issued today, found that consumers spent nearly US$3.4 billion in February compared to US$3 billion in January. The number was a sharp gain from the $2.4 billion spent online in February 2000.

"The impact of the economic slowdown is that instead of growing at an out-of-this-world phenomenon rate, it's (online spending) growing at a phenomenal rate," James L. McQuivey, research director at Forrestor said. McQuivey said the growth was expected and will continue in the future.

More households were online in February, with 13.5 million homes tapped into the Internet, than in January, when 13.3 million were connected. The estimates are based on a survey that registered 5,000 responses.

The increase in online sales is to be expected due to the growth of Internet users, according to Gail Janensch, an official with Greenfield Online, a market research company that conducted the survey with Forrester.

However, on average consumers spent $20 more in February. "Possibly the bad weather invited people to shop at home by clicking, rather than getting into their car," Janensch said.

Appliance sales experienced the greatest jump with a $20 million growth, according to Forrester. Janensch noted that increases in appliance and furniture buying marks a shift from traditional online spending items such as games, flowers and CDs.

Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can be contacted at +1-617-613-6000 or at http://www.forrester.com/.

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