Internet-connected households increase to 60%

Sixty percent of U.S. households will have personal Internet access this year, according to a new report from high-tech market-research firm Cahners In-Stat Group (Scottsdale, AZ). This increase in residential consumers will propel Internet service-provider (ISP) revenue growth, resulting in an additional $2.2 billion from dial-access subscribers alone. PC manufacturers will also benefit from the residential subscriber increase, as 43% of the 14 million consumers planning to buy Internet access are also planning to buy a new PC.

In-Stat analysts surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers on such topics as home Internet usage, access technologies, and ISP preference, the results of which are published in the report. Some of the findings include:

  • Internet use is nearly equal in terms of gender; by the end of this year, 49.1% of online users will be women.
  • Online consumers will continue to be more highly educated than the population at large. Nearly 72% of consumers with a graduate degree are now online, compared to 26.7% of consumers with a high school education or less.
  • The respondents spent an average of 12.2 hours per week online and maintain that price is the deciding factor when choosing an ISP. Value-added services were not a priority among the consumers surveyed, despite ISP efforts to use them to attract customers.
  • The 40% of the U.S. population reluctant to purchase Internet access cite "Internet apathy," the belief that they neither want nor need Internet access, as the main reason why they are not online.

Asserts Kate von Goeler, industry analyst for In-Stat's Internet Strategies Group, "The nagging question is, when will the Internet become a must-have technology? For most educated consumers, that time has come. Others will have to be convinced."

The report, "Residential ISP Buying Behavior and Internet Usage Trends: A Survey of U.S. Consumers," analyzes consumers' buying and usage behavior by gender, income, age, and education, and examines how much time is spent online and how that time is spent. The report provides plans for obtaining Internet access and offers criteria for ISP selection. For more information, call (617) 630-2139 or visit www.instat.com.

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