The most recent Consumer Internet Barometer, a quarterly report produced by NFO WorldGroup, Forrester Research and The Conference Board, indicates that while Web use continues to increase and consumer trust with the Web is higher than ever, consumer satisfaction with the Web experience is, well, up and down.
According to the report, personal communication was becoming less of a reason to go online -- perhaps influenced by the vast amount of SPAM now flooding the email system. Only 38 percent of those surveyed said the primary reason for going online was for personal communication, compared with 43 percent last year. Web surfing and research is climbing though. This year, 17 percent report they are now going online to do personal research, up from about 15 percent a year ago, and nearly 20 percent are using the Web to conduct work-related projects, up from 18 percent a year ago.
Consumers are now logging on a bit more frequently this year too with 39 percent reporting they log on daily, up from 36 percent last year. Over 71 percent of users who reported that they primarily log on to conduct work-related activities do so daily. Just under 64 percent of consumers who go online to communicate or email do so every day.
Now let's talk satisfaction. Frustration with email and Web messaging caused the satisfaction level for this group to drop from 42 percent last year to 37 percent this year. That was enough to drag the overall satisfaction level down to just over 40 percent. On the good news side, it appears that a greater confidence in conducting work-related activities led to an overall rise in consumers' confidence that their personal information will be safe when they use the Internet. This was sufficient to offset the slight trust dip that most other activities experienced.
As for online buying habits, The Barometer survey found that while online retail sales were weaker in the second quarter than in the first quarter of 2003, they were on par with the same period last year. Among recent buyers, consumers under the age of 35 and those with earnings in excess of $85,000 accounted for the most Web purchases, each at 58 percent. Not surprisingly, buying intentions appear to be much higher among consumers who have bought online in the past three months (88 percent) compared with those who have not (24 percent).
The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70 percent, which ensures highly representative data. Data is weighted as well to reflect the latest U.S. household demographic information. The survey was conducted during the second quarter of 2003.
For more detailed information, click on www.consumerinternetbarometer.us