(AP) Internet usage reached record levels in October as 115 million Americans went online, according to measurements released Tuesday by Nielsen/NetRatings.
The total represents a 4% increase from September and a 15% jump from the same period last year.
Nielsen/NetRatings also estimated that more than 176 million Americans, or 62% of the population, had access to the World Wide Web. That’s a jump from 156 million, or 57%, a year ago.
Monthly Internet usage had been dropping since reaching nearly 114 million in May.
Nielsen/NetRatings said the biggest growth was in home and fashion sites.
“As security concerns rise, there’s more interest in nesting activities, taking care of the family and the home, buying a nice set of sheets,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services.
He also said people may have deferred such purchases from September.
Traffic to news sites was steady in October, after jumping 14% in September because of interest in following terrorism-related developments.
Meanwhile, Jupiter Media Metrix released a list of newcomers to the Net — sites that had at least 500,000 monthly visitors for the first time. Five of the top two dozen newcomers were patriotic sites, and two were religion sites.
“While September’s newcomer sites focused on news, charity, and victims’ aid, October’s newcomers focus on patriotism and prayer,” said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research for Jupiter Media Metrix.