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E-tailers are being warned that they could miss out on a significant share of e-shopping revenue if they ignore gays and lesbians on the Web. According to a survey by California-based IT consultants, Computer Economics the worldwide population of gay and lesbian Net users is set to almost double from nine million today to 17 million in 2005. Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America will be home to the largest groups of gay and lesbian Internet users, the survey said. In North America gay and lesbian Net users will rise in number from 6.75 million this year to a little over 11 million by 2005. In Europe, the gay and lesbian population is predicted to double from 1.3 million to 2.6 million over the same period. Computer Economics predicts that South America will experience the fastest increase -- with a growth rate of 227 per cent over the next five years. "Web-based marketers need to get a clue," said Computer Economics vice president of research, Michael Erbschloe. "This is a significant market segment that cannot be ignored and certainly not alienated. The North American gay and lesbian online population will remain the largest over the next five years, but in all other regions the populations will more than double, and in some cases more than triple, he said. ®

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