Live from Percentage of Shoppers Among Web Households Remains Flat

New York–Two-thirds of Americans, or 67.5 million U.S. households, have Internet access at home. That’s an increase of more than 51% since 2000. But the percentage of online households that shop online has remained virtually flat at 51%.

Kate Delhagen, research director with Forrester Research, shared those statistics during a panel on the future of e-commerce. The Annual Summit runs through Sept. 26 at the Grand Hyatt New York.

While the lack of higher adoption rates of online shopping is somewhat discouraging, Delhagen offered some more-encouraging statistics. Increasing numbers of wired households have high-speed broadband access rather than slower dial-up connections, and consumers with broadband tend to spend more online. Whereas 37% of consumers with dial-up have purchased from the Internet, 61% of those with broadband access have. And while dial-up users spent an average of $324 online during a three-month period, among broadband users that figure swelled to $552.

Partly because of the continuing switch to broadband from dial-up, Forrester expects e-commerce to account for approximately 8% of all retail sales by 2008. Currently e-commerce accounts for roughly 3%.

Delhagen also addressed the ongoing integration of channels. The Web is going to stores, she said, via in-store kiosks and other types of “smart screens.” Stores are going to the Web, with retail Websites posting store circulars, addresses, and news of local event.

And print catalogs, she pointed out, are going everwhere. “Catalogs are not dead,” Delhagen emphasized. “They’re changing forms, functions, etc., but we have loads of data showing how important they are to the shopping process.”

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