E-commerce is now mainstream: eBay

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NEW YORK - Shop.org's ongoing annual summit has quite a few e-commerce firms exhibiting platforms to eye business from the nation's leading online retailers gathered to deliberate e-commerce issues. Add to that list auction and retail platform eBay Inc.

The online giant is demonstrating its basic line, as well as a new product called eBay Express for the more seasoned sellers. It also released results from a Harris Research study.

"We found that online purchasing is no longer a fringe activity," said Maria Reiling, director of fashion and sports at eBay. "It is mainstream."

The study, conducted during the past third quarter, found that this mainstream adoption means that most of the respondents were familiar with big brands like Amazon and eBay.

Some basic trends still hold true. Those new to purchasing on the Internet tend to buy books, movies and music. And while in the past consumers new to the online world tended to remember their first online purchase, today that is not the case: 43 percent of the newbies don't.

But big-ticket purchasing has gone up, with 21 percent of the online purchasers having made at least one online purchase of $1,000 or more.

Ms. Reiling said that she is seeing people making bigger purchases online like furniture, cars and even engagement rings.

As far as age breakdown goes, consumers under 30 want to be entertained and are more motivated by fun. The middle-aged online buyers are more concerned about online safety and security.

Interestingly, the study found that seniors appear to be more motivated by product reviews than younger respondents.

"We thought that product reviews would be more relevant for younger users, so we find this notable," Ms. Reiling said.

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