Shopping via the Internet has doubled in the past year according to a new survey released Monday, as the Net becomes a mass market medium.
Internet monitoring company Media Metrix said shopping Web site usage has increased over the past year from 27.4 per cent of users in October 1996 to 37 per cent in October 1997. Online book seller Amazon.com was the site which saw th greatest increase in business, with its reach more than tripling from 1.4 per cent in 1996 to 5.9 per cent this year.
Mary Ann Packo, president of Media Metrix, said: "Our findings indicate that the Web and commercial online services are proving to be an essential medium for advertising and brand building as well as an important forum for merchants trying to attract potential customers.?
Apple Computer - one of the latest converts to online retailing - would appear to be one of the beneficiaries of the shift to Internet shopping. The company announced on Monday that its Apple Store Web site has received more than $12 million of orders in its first 30 days. The site was launched on 10 November for US customers only. It will be rolled out in Europe next year.
Meanwhile a second set of figures from IDC confirmed the Internet?s postion as a mass market medium. In its ?US Consumer Internet and Online Service Forecast, 1996-2001? report, IDC predicts that 17.7 million US households will be online by the end of this year, some 18 per cent of total households.
By 2001, the research firm expects that 40 million - 38 per cent - of households will subscribe to at least one consumer online service.
America Online is still the leading online service provider with 9.9 million U.S consumer subscriber accounts (including Compuserve) as of the third quarter 1997, followed by Microsoft Network (MSN) with 1.7 million subscriptions. But IDC expects that continued success will be dependent less on content and more on content distribution of that content.
IDC warned: "It is imperative for AOL and MSN to have clear-cut strategies for tapping into a new distribution channel such as cable if they are going to continue to dominate in this market space. These companies need to beware of how the other players are handling distribution and consequently altering the competitive landscape."
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