By: Karl Greenberg

Electronics, Office Supplies Up Strongly

by Karl Greenberg

(Adweek IQ) After five months of consecutive declines, the number
of consumers who either purchased online or said they plan to during
the next three months rose in July, according to Port Washington,
N.Y.-based market research consultancy NPD. The firm’s e-Conomy
Indicator, based on its monthly survey of 5,000 consumers with
Internet access, rose to 91.5 in July, up 2 points since June.

An NPD analyst said that although NPD’s combined index comprises
both online purchases made during the past three months, and the
intent to purchase during the next three, the real driver for the
overall increase was the latter, a jump in survey respondents’
intent to purchase this quarter. Product categories that reflected
this most strongly were electronics, up 19%; office supply, up 16%;
computers & software, up 7% and travel up 5%.

‘It seems consumers’ concern over a sharp downturn of the U.S.
economy is diminishing, reflecting the positive statements from the
Federal Reserve Board forecasting that the economy will have a
healthier growth rate in the future,’ said Karl Irons, NPD’s
president of online research.

Last quarter, while many market categories showed declines in online
purchases, travel purchases stayed strong, with reservations totaling
approximately $2.8 billion, with $557.60 the average amount spent on
online travel reservations up from first quarter’s $527.50. On average
59% of online travel purchasers made one purchase, 30% purchased two
to three times and 11% purchased more than 3 times for the quarter.

Online grocery sales were also brisk last quarter, increasing by 26%
to $321 million during the quarter. The average amount spent online
was $133, up from first quarter’s $116. NPD asserted that online
sales of grocery items exceeded online sales of office supplies,
gifts and flowers, and that posted the highest share
of online purchasers at 13%. Based on survey respondents, online
travel and grocery categories will continue to grow in the next
quarter, according to the consultancy.

NPD statistics peg sales at $10.7 billion for the second quarter,
based on data collected for the three months ending June 30. The
average online shopper spent $267, and the average online purchase
was $180 for the period.


(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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