Women have emerged as powerful drivers of Internet and ecommerce growth in the past year, according to a new report.
From July 1998 to April 1999, the number of women purchasing online grew 80 per cent, from 6 million to 10.5 million, according to a report by Commercenet/Nielsen Media Research. The percentage of online buyers who are women grew from 29 per cent to 38 per cent.
"Men were undoubtedly the early adopters of Internet commerce, but women have recently emerged as a powerful buying force on the Web," commented Jerome Samson, director of technology and business strategy, Nielsen Media Research. "It is especially important considering that the proportion of women among Internet buyers had been stagnant for nearly two years."
"This is a very healthy trend for the stability of the ecommerce economy," he added.
Women now represent 45 per cent of the 9.2 million online book buyers, 38 per cent of the 7.2 million CD/video buyers, 24 per cent of the 5.4 million buyers of computer hardware, and 53 per cent of the 4.5 million online buyers of clothing. In these top categories, the number of women making purchases has more than doubled since last summer.
Internet shopping, however, has not erased gender differences. Women's top shopping items on the Internet are clothing and books, whilst men go for car parts and computers.
Increasingly, shoppers are also turning to the Web to gather information before buying products in stores, the study found. A total of 55 million people shopped that way, up 15 per cent from the previous survey.
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