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Poll: E-Commerce Not A Hit

CBS News/New York Times poll graphic
CBS/AP
Growth of the Internet over the past year does not seem to have significantly attracted traffic to e-commerce during this holiday season.

According to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, this holiday season, 35 percent of Americans who have access to the Internet either plan to buy gifts over the Internet or have already done so — a number virtually unchanged from last year.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
HOLIDAY SHOPPING ONLINE

 This seasonLast season
Internet users who shopped online:

35%

33%

CBSNEWS Polls

On the plus side, however, only 23 percent report actually having bought gifts over the Internet during last year's holiday season. By contrast, 32 percent of Internet users say they have done some holiday gift shopping online already this year.

As was the case last year, overall customer satisfaction is high for e-commerce. Online shoppers are overwhelmingly happy about their overall online shopping experiences and almost all of them say they will do it again.

69 percent of online shoppers rate their shopping experience as better thn shopping in a store. About a quarter say shopping online is about the same as shopping in person; only 5 percent say shopping on the Internet is worse than shopping the traditional way.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
ONLINE BUYING

 This seasonLast season
Internet users who bought gifts online:

32%

23%

CBSNEWS Polls

The absence of crowds, convenience, and speed are the main reasons why shoppers find it better to shop on the Internet than in stores.

31 percent of this year's online shoppers say being able to avoid the holiday shopping crowds is what makes shopping on the Internet better than going to the stores. A quarter cite convenience — being able to shop from home and do it all from a computer. Seventeen percent say shopping online is faster; another 14 percent say it is just easier.

Since holiday shopping on the Internet is such a positive experience, almost all online shoppers say they would do it again.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
SHOPPING ONLINE VS. IN STORES

 BetterSame Worse
Percent who feel shopping online is:

69%

24%

5%

CBSNEWS Polls

One-third of Americans, and just over half of all Internet users, say they have purchased products over the Internet at some point.

Online shoppers continue to be wealthier and better educated. The age gap, however, seems to have narrowed somewhat over the past year as more older Americans have become online shoppers — 54 percent of Internet users ages 45 and over now say they have purchased products over the Internet, compared with just two out of five who said so last year.

There have also been slight shifts in the makeup of the online community as a whole.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
ONLINE ADVANTAGES

 Avoid crowdsConvenienceSaves timeEasier overall
Why is shopping online better?

31%

25%

17%

14%

CBSNEWS Polls

56 percent of Americans are now online, up from 50 percent last year.

The makeup of the online community as a whole has not changed much over the past year — Americans who have access to the Internet still tend to be younger, wealthier, and better educated.

However, older Americans appear to have caught up quite a bit. Now 58 percent of Americans ages 45 to 64 are online, compared to 48 percent just a year ago. One out of every five seniors is now online, up from 14 percent at the end of 1999.

This poll was conducted by telephone December 14-16, 2000, among 1,048 adults nationwide. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample, and four percentage points for Internet users. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.