Online Shopping -- How Bazaar

SYDNEY (04/12/2000) - Australians love to flash that plastic online. They rank with the best online shoppers, according to a study of Internet users in 34 countries. They are as willing to use credit cards online as their North American counterparts, and even more inclined than U.S. consumers to do their banking online.

A A$1 million (US$597,000) survey by global market researcher Angus Reid is billed as the most comprehensive study to date of worldwide Internet usage. It is based on interviews with about 28,000 people conducted between October 1999 and January 2000 and split between some 21,000 general consumers and 7,000 Internet users.

In terms of actually purchasing products online, Australian users lagged behind their U.S. counterparts -- 33 percent to 56 percent. But in other e-commerce categories, Australians were either line-ball or ahead of the U.S. sample, according to the study.

"The survey shows that Australia is on the leading edge of online commerce," said Angus Reid's vice president Gus Shattenberg. For example, online banking was carried out by 26 percent of Australian users surveyed compared to 22 percent in the U.S.. Eight percent had bought shares or other investments online (U.S., 11 percent), while music downloads were carried out by 33 percent of the Australian sample -- almost identical to the U.S. statistic of 34 percent.

More than seven out of 10 Australians surveyed used credit cards for online payment and a whopping 77 percent pronounced themselves "very satisfied" with their transactions. That exceeded the global user satisfaction average of 70 percent.

In the Australian sample, only 2 percent expressed dissatisfaction with transactions, a rate one-third that of the global average.

The survey covered countries that between them hold 85 percent of the world's Internet users, according to Angus Reid.

Different regions favor different online activities, according to the study. In non-English speaking countries, bank transfers and cash on delivery are popular forms of payment. Downloading music is a favourite Latin American online activity while online banking activity is above the worldwide average in Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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