Hardware, software big draws

The Web lured 20 million people to buy some consumer item in the first six months of 1998, a 100% increase over the same period a year ago.

That’s the statistical projection of Nielsen Media Research, which conducted telephone interviews with 5,000 randomly chosen people 16 and older during June 1998.

Of the 20 million people who made purchases, 5.6 million bought books online, which is 3.3 million more than last year.

The No. 1 category is books; No. 2 is computer hardware, which generated 4.4 million purchases, a jump of 2.4 million from those of last year. The third highest is computer software, which racked up 4 million purchases, compared to 2.8 million for the same period in 1997.

Some of Nielsen’s other Web-purchase findings include:

  • 71% of the people who bought something through the Web in the first six months are men and 29% women, which is the same ratio that existed last year.

  • Among people aged 16 to 24, the top purchases are books, CDs, cassettes, videos and clothing.

  • A total of 3.4 million people bought CDs, cassettes or videos compared to only 2 million for the same period last year.

  • The purchase of airline tickets and of hotel and car-rental reservations shot up from 1.6 million people last year to 2.8 million in the first six months of 1998.

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