The average Internet user's online holiday season spending rose from $US216 last year to $629 in 1998, an increase of 191%, according to a survey of 1,000 Internet users conducted by Zona Research.
Spending and spending growth was highest among those respondents aged over 50, Zona said in a press statement issued today. Growth and spending was lowest among those under 25, said Zona. Spending for those aged 50 to 54 rocketed from $97 in 1997 to $626 in 1998, an increase of 545%, and spending for those over 55 swelled to $1,819 from just $281 last year. Those respondents aged less than 25 spent only $210 per person, up 36% over last year's spend of $154.
While men online still spend more on average than do women, women's online buying rose far more dramatically, said Zona. Women spent an average of $543 online, which was an increase of 309% over last year. Men's spending rose 145% to reach $707, said Zona.
"We think these results indicate the critical role Web shopping is beginning to play in the U.S. economy," said Jack Staff, Zona director and chief economist in the statement. "Internet-based commerce is beginning to encroach on retail as a viable shopping experience for increasing numbers of Americans."
Online shopping seems certain to grow further next year, since 61% of the respondents said they expected to spend more money online in the coming year, said Zona.
About three-quarters of the online purchases were books, music and videotapes and nearly half were computer-related items, said Zona. Other significant purchases were clothing, consumer electronics, food and beverages, travel and tourism, personal care products and flowers.
More than half of the respondents said they were shopping online to save time or money and most reported receiving their purchases quickly, said Zona.
Zona Research, in Redwood City, California, can be reached at +1-650-568-5700 or