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78% Of U.S. Adults Shopped Online In Previous 6 Months
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78% Of U.S. Adults Shopped Online In Previous 6 Months

With the holiday season about to begin, Americans are already flocking online to do their shopping.

According to Nielsen Online, 78% of adult online consumers in the U.S. made a purchase via the Web within the previous six months.

Travel-related transactions were most common, with 38% of adult online consumers making at least one travel purchase on the Web in the previous six months.

Large percentages of online consumers also went online to manage their credit card accounts (36%) and conduct personal banking transactions (35%).

Rank Top

Online Transaction Categories

(U.S. Adults)

Composition

Percentage

Reach

(in 000s)

1 Online Travel – Any (p/online 6 mo.) 38% 54,417
2 Credit Cards – Manage Account (t/online/6 mo.) 36% 51,731
3 Home Banking (t/online/6 mo.) 35% 49,899
4 Clothes/Shoes/Acc. – Any (p/online/6 mo.) 28% 40,075
5 Books (p/online/6 mo.) 26% 37,001
6 Hotel/Motel Reservations (p/online/6 mo.) 18% 26,055
7 Auctions (p/online/6 mo.) 16% 23,449
8 Event Tickets (p/online/6 mo.) 14% 20,820
9 Insurance – Any (t/online/6 mo.) 11% 16,385
10 Computer Software – Any (p/online/6 mo.) 11% 15,580
Source: The Nielsen Company, Nielsen Online, @Plan, Winter 2008/2009 Release.
Note: “p” = “purchase” and “t” = “transaction”

Nielsen’s findings are based on data from @Plan, a quarterly survey of approximately 36,000 U.S. Internet users age 18 and older.

In October, eBay and Amazon were the top two online retailers, drawing 49.2 million and 48.3 million unique visitors, respectively.  Wal-Mart, Target, and Netflix rounded out the top five.

Rank

(by U.A.)

Top Online Retailers:

October 2008

Unique Audience

(in 000s)

Time Per Person

(hh:mm:ss)

1 eBay 49,213 1:47:26
2 Amazon 48,261 0:22:45
3 Wal-Mart Stores 25,312 0:13:55
4 Target 23,827 0:09:36
5 Netflix 14,284 0:34:58
6 Dell 14,272 0:14:13
7 Best Buy 12,446 0:10:57
8 Sears 11,752 0:07:33
9 The Home Depot 11,053 0:09:52
10 JCPenney 10,703 0:16:09
Source: The Nielsen Company, Nielsen Online, Custom Analysis (October 2008).

“The challenge for retailers is no longer how to lure shoppers online, but how to differentiate their brand among all others,” Nachi Lolla, research director, commerce, Nielsen Online, noted.  “Heading into this competitive holiday shopping season, selection, price, and customer service are the key areas in which retailers can shine.”

View the full press release.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings on Digital Media Wire and in Brandweek and BizReport.com.