Nearly Half of Consumers Bought by Phone, ATA Says

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Approximately 45 percent of Americans used the telephone to make a purchase last year, compared to 37 percent who used the Internet, the American Teleservices Association said yesterday.


In a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted in February and March, the ATA found that people between the ages of 45 and 54 had the highest rate of phone purchases, at 60 percent, while people between the ages of 25 and 34 led the way in Internet purchases, with 50 percent.


Reluctance to use the Internet for buying increased with age, the study found. Of those surveyed over the age of 65, only 11 percent had bought over the Internet, while 42 percent made purchases using the phone.


"While the Internet has emerged as a marketing and sales device, this study points to the staying power of the telephone," said Jason Clawson, ATA executive director.


The survey also found that only 39 percent of consumers surveyed used caller ID. Younger consumers were more likely to have caller ID.


Consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 had the highest rate of caller ID usage at 54.2 percent. On the opposite spectrum, the oldest consumers, those over the age of 65, had the lowest rate of caller ID usage, with 16.9 percent.


Caller ID use also varied by region. Nearly 50 percent of consumers surveyed who lived in the southern United States used caller ID, while only 31.4 percent of those surveyed who lived in the Northeast used the device.


Another portion of the survey measured the role of outbound telemarketing in politics. According to the study, 58 percent of those surveyed said that they had received at least one call related to last year's election campaign.


Approximately 20 percent said they had received six or more calls during last year's campaign. Older consumers were more likely to be the target of outbound political calls, with at least 66 percent of those 45 and older saying they had received at least one such call


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