Until technology and transport providers offer speedier access, growth of Internet usage in Western Europe and the US will slow, according to a survey conducted by MORI International and Response Analysis Corporation USA. Most additional growth is due to come from outside the Western world.
Reasons for Using / Not Using the Internet
While users like the breadth and depth of the information available on the Internet, they are frustrated by the "World Wide Wait" (slow access speeds). Outside the US, telephone costs continue to be a major barrier.
The amount of information available on the Web, the speed at which you can access information and the ability to communicate with people of similar interests are considered to be key advantages of the Web.
Internet users are just as concerned about revealing personal information as they are about transactional security. Lack of time is also an issue and there is an indication that the Internet continues to be viewed as a diversion rather than a serious medium by many users and potential users.
Users consider the 'Net to be important in their daily lives now and that it will become even more important in the next two to three years.
Users are still exploring and learning about the 'Net. They are online fairly frequently and spend a fair amount of time on the 'Net during a typical session. Weekly usage ranges from six to more than nine Internet sessions while the length of a typical session ranges from a half-hour up to more than 50 minutes.
The amount of time spent online in a typical session seems stable. The main exceptions are the US and Greece where the highest proportion of users say their typical session has increased in length and the Netherlands where the opposite is true.
Surfing continues to account for a large proportion of time spent online. Users on average spend around one-third of their time online while the remainder of their time is spent visiting sites they have been to before.
In English speaking countries and most of Western Europe, the home is the primary venue for Internet usage. Only in Japan and Greece are users more likely to go online at work. Payment for the Internet is largely determined by venue.
The survey also found that the Internet is starting to replace the TV as a leisure activity. Approximately one in ten adult Internet users across all the countries surveyed claim that the Internet has almost completely or completely replaced TV watching.
Content and Commerce
Consumers are more likely to regard the Internet as a reference library than a bookstore. They are more interested in using it for information purposes than to make a purchase online. Indeed, they are more likely to gather information and then purchase in a more traditional way.
Business-related content is still the primary driver of Internet usage while product and service information is also an important content area. Users are also very interested in timely information about local activities.
Consumers who have purchased online are most likely to have done so in areas which have a strong mail and telephone-order presence. The main categories of interest are computer-related products, travel, books, event tickets and music. Banking is one of the most popular service categories. Dutch consumers are the most enthusiastic Internet purchasers while the British are among the least likely to have done so.
MORI International and Response Analysis Corporation interviewed 2,045 Internet Users in twelve countries world-wide including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. Interviewing was conducted among current Internet users by telephone with adults aged 18+ in November 1997 - January 1998.