Online Consumers Near 80 Million

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The number of online consumers continues to grow, reaching nearly 80 million, according to the new eCommerce: B2C Report from eMarketer issued last week.

The report, which aggregates and analyzes data from more than 100 research organizations, includes estimates for U.S. business-to-consumer e-commerce revenue in 2001 ranging from the Direct Marketing Association's $37.1 billion to $117 billion by Keenan Vision.

Based on analysis of the projections, including Department of Commerce data, eMarketer estimates that nationwide BTC e-commerce revenue, which totaled $38.3 billion last year, will reach $156 billion by 2005.

The number of U.S. online purchasers continues rising, reaching 79.3 million this year, the report said. More of those consumers buy from "trusted" names from the offline world. L.L. Bean, Wal-Mart and Kmart have expanded their online operations. Pure plays, such as, seeking to survive, are venturing into traditional merchant areas, striking distribution deals with brick-and-mortar outlets such as Circuit City, Toys 'R' Us and Target.

The report's highlights include:

· The number of U.S. Internet users, at 116.5 million last year, will reach 184.1 million by 2005.

· The number of Americans buying online will more than double, from 64.1 million last year to 130 million by 2005.

· Giga Information Group's data indicate that "click-and-mortar" companies will dominate Internet sales this year as they did last year.

· Alexa Research reports that 33 of the top 50 sites have multichannel operations. Only 17 are pure dot-coms.

· EMarketer places the online customer conversion rate at 2.9 percent for 2000, up from 1.9 percent during 1999. For 2001, this will rise to 3.5 percent.

· By the end of this year, 37 percent of those ages 14 to 17 who are online will have bought something on the Web, up from 30 percent last year.

· Visa International places online credit-card fraud rates at 25 cents and 28 cents per every $100 charged, compared with 7 cents for all transactions.

· Jupiter found that consumers are "overwhelmingly" fearful about the theft of credit-card data online. Nearly 81 percent of U.S. consumers fear their card number will be intercepted.

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