Study: Women Lead Growth in Internet Use

FRAMINGHAM (03/22/2000) - A nationwide survey released today has found that women are logging onto the Web in greater numbers and driving the growth of Internet use in the U.S.

By the end of last year, 106 million people were online -- 53 percent of the U.S. adult population -- and 60 percent of those accessed the Web every day, the survey from Washington, D.C.-based The Strategis Group found. Internet use grew by 25 percent since 1998.

Women users have tripled in the past two-and-a-half years, to 49 percent, the survey said.

"Women have historically been the minority gender online," said Neil Rochlani, a Strategis analyst who worked on the survey. "Now it's about even."

In addition, consumers spent twice as much online than they did during the past year -- spending about US$3.6 billion for products and services over the Internet, compared to $1.6 billion at the end of 1998, according to the group's Internet User Trend report. The number of people spending more than $50 per month online now stands at 20 million, up from 8.5 million at the end of 1998.

Most online shoppers purchased books, CDs, clothing, computer software and travel services.

One of the fastest-growing segments of Internet use is in people logging on from home. Home users grew by 43 percent in 1999, with nearly half of U.S. households connected to the Web, according the report.

That growth, coupled with the finding that 48 million people have been online for three or more years, has fueled an increased demand for high-speed Internet access, Rochlani said. The survey found that 21 percent of users are either ready to purchase or would be interested in paying $40 per month for high-speed access.

"You're seeing this level of sophistication that's driving up demand," Rochlani said.

Other findings from the random telephone survey include that Internet users spend an average of $68.50 online each month, and while women log on to shop more often than do men, men spend more money.

Forty percent of the women surveyed said they primarily used the Internet mostly to shop -- compared to 30 percent of the men.

Another study, released yesterday by Toronto-based Angus Reid Group Inc., set Internet users at 108 million in the U.S. and 300 million worldwide. Growth in Internet use is on a course to reach 1 billion people worldwide, the study said, Much of that growth is being driven by wireless devices, rather than PCs.

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