Business Surfers Succumb to March Madness

FRAMINGHAM (04/07/2000) - March madness struck the business-surfer dominated Internet, according to the latest figures released by Nielsen NetRatings.

Business users continue to spend nearly twice as much time surfing the Net as home users and engage in nearly twice the number of online sessions per user, according to Nielsen. The numbers for the week ending March 19 showed the average worker spent 5 hours, 27 minutes online while the home surfer was connected for 3 hours, 8 minutes. Both groups spent an average of 30 minutes during each surfing session, but those at work tallied 11 sessions per week compared to six sessions for the at-home market.

Nielsen said, "The NCAA Basketball Tournament began, and Internet users at work were filling out their brackets and keeping track of the scores as sports sites experienced some of the highest growth for the week."

The sports site that saw the biggest increase in traffic was with a 68.2 percent bump, from 866,000 unique visitors the week ended March 12 to 1,464,000 unique visitors the following week. (42.1 percent), (36.4 percent) and (36.0 percent) also saw significant increases.

Publishers Clearing House experienced a massive 541 percent surge in online traffic for at-home users with its promotion of a $1 million weekly sweepstakes the week ended March 19, jumping from 131,000 unique visitors the previous week to 840,000 unique visitors.

At-work usage remains the most saturated and active market. Nielsen found that 28.1 million out of an estimated 33.2 million at-work surfers (84.6 percent) logged onto the Internet during the week, while only 59.9 million of an estimated 130.1 million of at-home surfers (46 percent) followed suit.

EBay Inc. remained the stickiest site for both surfing segments with an average 64 minutes per week for the at-home crowd and 97 minutes per week for the group.

Nielsen NetRatings, the audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings Inc., collects real-time data from more than 51,000 panel members in the U.S. The U.S. panel sample consists of 43,000 at-home users and 8,000 at-work users.

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