Report: Consumers Grow More Trusting of Web Transactions

U.S. consumers are more trusting when conducting online transactions than they were a year ago, according to the Consumer Internet Barometer, a new quarterly measure of Internet activity.

Trust among Internet users for online transactions has improved from the fourth quarter of 2001, the report said. More than 33 percent now express trust that their online financial transactions are safe, up from 27.5 percent a year ago. Consumers also expressed greater trust when buying products online. One-fourth trust that their personal information will be safe when buying online, up from 21.9 percent a year ago.

Satisfaction levels for online financial transactions and purchases also improved over the past year.

The report found that overall Internet use rose in the fourth quarter. Now, nearly 61 percent of consumers go online at least once a month. This is up from 58.7 percent a year ago. The Consumer Internet Barometer also found that the main reason for using the Internet is personal communication (37.9 percent), followed by work-related activities (17.8 percent) and research (17.3 percent).

Other findings:

· Only 33.6 percent of U.S. consumers have never been online, down from 34.7 percent a year ago.

· Currently, 37.4 percent of users go online daily, up from 33.7 percent a year ago.

· Of those who go online daily, 60.5 percent made an online purchase in the past three months, down from 62.3 percent a year ago.

The barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70 percent. Data is weighted to reflect the latest U.S. household demographic information. This survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2002.

The barometer is produced jointly by NFO WorldGroup, Forrester Research and The Conference Board. It tracks consumers' evolving use, trust and satisfaction with the Internet and identifies trends.

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