Friday, November 8, 2002

Number of shoppers using the Internet surges by 47 per cent

Friday November 8 2002

Susan Schwartz

Hong Kong people appear to be turning away from shopping centres in favour of the Internet, with the number of armchair consumers logging on to the most popular sites up by 47 per cent over the past year, according to a survey released yesterday.

The Nielsen/NetRatings figures show audience levels for the top 100 shopping sites increased from 562,000 last year to 823,000 this year. This compares with a 24 per cent increase in overall Internet use from 1.7 million to 2.1 million during the same period.

The company's Hong Kong director, Peter Steyn, said consumers were turning to the Internet to compare products and prices.

'In September 2001, 33 per cent of Internet users visited a shopping site,' Mr Steyn said. 'This September, 39 per cent visited a shopping site - a clear indicator increasing numbers of Hong Kong surfers are enjoying the convenience of online shopping.'

The most popular destinations were the Yahoo! shopping and auction sites, which saw their audiences increase 132 per cent year on year. 'The Yahoo! shopping and auction sites continue to lead the field and are now well ahead of the second-ranked Amazon,' said Mr Steyn.

'For Yahoo! high growth came from, now the most popular auction site among at-home Internet users.'

Among the top 20 shopping domains this September, those offering general merchandise remained the most popular, followed by sites offering auctions, computer products, travel and - to a lesser extent - music, cinema bookings, beauty products, books and groceries.

'The type of products people are looking for online has not changed much over the last year,' Mr Steyn said.

'Sites with a variety of products, and auctions in particular, are becoming increasingly popular.' Fifty-nine per cent of online shoppers are men and 54 per cent of customers are in the 18 to 34 age group. According to last month's figures, 18 per cent of Internet users aged above 16 had made a purchase online.

Meanwhile, the use of online government services has increased almost 20 per cent over the past year, according to a Taylor Nelson Sofres study released yesterday. The number of people who consider such sites unsafe to use decreased by three per cent from last year to 52 per cent.

The most frequent users are people seeking information (33 per cent), high-income groups (65 per cent), people with a university education (78 per cent) and those aged under 25 (63 per cent).

No comments: