We're all Web window shoppers

Research shows we like to compare prices online but we're less inclined to spend

Four percent of the adult population of the UK -- 1.6 million people -- have never heard of the Internet, according to research published by ecommerce consortium, CommerceNet, and Nielsen Media Research. Despite this, the survey also discovered that a quarter of all adult Brits used the Internet last month, and that half of them log on every day. This latest batch of research to hit the streets also shows what people are doing online. While half of all users said they'd used the Web to compare the price of goods and services, only a quarter had actually bought something online. Two thirds of Net users said they used the Web for work-related activity, while a similar amount said they used it to research travel plans. "This is the first research to benchmark the UK's Internet buying and ecommerce habits, and has thrown up some surprising results," said Neil Ellul, MD of CommerceNet. "The fact that 27 per cent of the UK population is now online will send an encouraging message to all those involved in building ecommerce businesses. However, we also found that 1.6 million people have still not even heard of the Internet. "Obviously, still more work needs to be done in terms of education and awareness if companies are to truly exploit the Internet as a medium for doing business," he said. According to the research, the demographic profile of Net users in Britain is similar to that of North America two years ago. The exception seems to be that British Net users are embracing ecommerce more rapidly than US users. ®

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