June 03, 2001

According to results of the inaugural Yahoo!/ACNielsen Internet Confidence Index, more than four out of 10 (42 percent) U.S.-based Internet users intend to purchase online during the next three months, and will spend an estimated $9.9 billion via the Web during that period of time.

The first ever Index results were announced by Yahoo! Inc. and ACNielsen. The first study of the Yahoo!/ACNielsen Internet Confidence Index (the E-commerce Index) is designed to measure consumer confidence in e-commerce services, based on attitudes and intended behavior. In a separate announcement today, Yahoo! and ACNielsen announced the launch of the overall Index program, which will provide a barometer for consumer confidence in Internet offerings, giving the industry a powerful tool around which to design policies and services.

The E-commerce Index measures consumers' overall confidence in e-commerce, reflecting their attitudes toward motivators and barriers to e-commerce, as well as intended purchasing behavior. The Index score for the initial E-commerce Index wave has been set to 100 for use as a baseline, and future waves of the E-commerce Index will be released quarterly, providing trended Index scores.

"The results from the first wave of the Yahoo!/ACNielsen Internet Confidence Index reinforce the importance that consumers place in price comparison tools, selection, and the availability of information when evaluating online purchases," said Grant Winfrey, senior marketing director for Yahoo!'s commerce services. "Interestingly, the Index showed that convenience was not a primary motivator to consumers' purchasing patterns online."

"One of the more striking findings of the Index is the substantial dollar amount of e-commerce that is expected to be transacted during the next three months," said Travyn Rhall, ACNielsen's managing director of international research. "Despite industry consolidation and a changing business landscape, the Index clearly demonstrates the public's continued confidence in making purchases over the Web."

E-commerce Confidence

The study revealed that attitudes toward e-commerce among different age groups were primarily driven by product selection, comfort with online credit card use and customer service, with the youngest age group surveyed (ages 18 - 24) displaying higher confidence in these areas. Regionally, Internet users in the Northeast exhibit generally higher confidence in e-commerce overall, especially in regard to delivery of goods purchased, price comparison tools and the ability to find better prices online. The following table illustrates various demographic segment Index scores in relation to the baseline:

-- E-commerce Index - 100 (baseline)

-- Internet users - 118
-- Heavy Internet users - 134
-- Light Internet users - 94
-- Non-Internet users - 69

The study showed that the main motivators driving online purchasing are the ability to get a wide array of product information, the ability to compare prices, and product selection. Consumers rated comfort with using a credit card online and disclosure of personal information as the biggest barriers, but also revealed that they are relatively confident that the goods they order online will be delivered properly. Convenience does not appear to be a significant motivator to online shopping, and consumers are less confident in their ability to find better prices online.

Comparing heavy Internet users (daily use) with light Internet users, overall confidence among heavy users is driven by higher confidence in online credit card use, convenience, availability of information and proper delivery of goods, as well as the ability to compare prices. While men and women indexed similarly in most attributes, men have more confidence that they will find lower prices online.

Intended Purchasing Behavior

More than four out of 10 (42 percent) Internet users said they intend to purchase online during the next three months, with more than three in five (63 percent) surveyed intenders indicating they would purchase once a month or more frequently. Among previous online purchasers, nearly seven out of 10 (68 percent) people intend to purchase over the next three months. On average, purchasers will spend an estimated $184 each during the same time period.


Ranking of Motivators and Barriers to E-commerce:


1. Information about products and services
2. Price Comparison
3. Selection of products and services
4. Convenience


1. Comfort with credit card usage
2. Confidentiality of personal information
3. Customer service
4. Proper delivery of goods

Internet Confidence Index by Gender

Among all respondents, men and women have similar confidence in e-commerce. Among Internet users, however, men are marginally more confident.

-- Yahoo!/ACNielsen, E-commerce Index 100 (baseline)
-- All respondents:
- Men - 102
- Women - 98
-- Internet users
- Men - 123
- Women - 113
-- Non-users
- Men - 66
- Women - 72

Internet Confidence Index by Age

Younger respondents display the most confidence in online purchasing.

-- Yahoo!/ACNielsen, E-commerce Index 100 (baseline)
-- Ages 18 - 24 - 123
-- Ages 25 - 34 - 104
-- Ages 35 - 44 - 110
-- Ages 45 and above - 89

Internet Confidence Index by Region (Internet users)

Among Internet users, survey respondents from the Northeast are most confident in purchasing online.

-- Yahoo!/ACNielsen, E-commerce Index 100 (baseline)
-- Northeast - 133
-- Midwest - 114
-- South - 113
-- West - 117

Internet Confidence Index by Education (Internet Users)

People with at least a college degree are significantly more confident compared to those with only a high school degree or less.

-- Yahoo!/ACNielsen, E-commerce Index 100 (baseline)
-- Some college or higher - 116
-- High school or less - 84

Intended Purchasing (Internet users)

More than four in ten (42 percent) Internet users intend to purchase something online during the next three months, spending $9.9 billion during the same time period. Heavy Internet users are twice as likely as light users to buy something online in the next three months.


-- Will spend between $1 and $50 - 31 percent
-- Will spend between $51 and $100 - 24
-- Will spend between $101 and $200 - 14
-- Will spend between $201 and $500 - 18
-- Will spend more than $500 - 12


-- Once a week or more - 11 percent
-- Once every two to three weeks - 19
-- Once a month - 33
-- Once every two months - 14
-- Once every three months - 20
-- Less often - 4

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