79 mil log onto Internet

Nielsen reports 36% jump in a year, 48 mil web shoppers

NEW YORK — The Internet is mesmerizing the continent of North America.

A total of 79 million people on the continent are now logging on to the Internet, 36% more than the 58 million who were Internet users in September 1997.

Those numbers come from a Nielsen telephone survey of randomly selected people in the U.S. and Canada over the age of 16, conducted in June 1998.

The study also found that the number of Web shoppers, defined by Nielsen as “people checking out or comparing products and services on the Web,” reached 48 million. That’s 37% higher than the comparable figure eight months ago.

And for the first time, Nielsen reports, more than half of the population between the ages of 16 and 34 are Internet users — 40 million. About 43% of Internet users are women (34 million overall), and 13 million people (17%) are over the age of 50. How-ever, men do most of the online shopping (64%) and buying of products (71%).

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