So great is the boom in Internet retailing, that a Forrest Research survey estimated U.S. online sales would grow from $96 billion in 2003, to more than $200 billion by 2008. Who is out there, doing all that buying?
A good part of the market is women, particularly young mothers who are part of the consumer group that cite a preference for Internet shopping to avoid crowds, get better prices, compare products, and reduce the need to travel around to find what they want.
In 2003, women in the 18-34 year age bracket made up 15% of Internet users. They also constituted 24% of the buyers from cosmetic and fragrance sites, 20% of the customers for wearing apparel, and 22% of the shoppers for jewelry and other luxury items.
With 50% of online purchases being made by someone from a household where the chief wage earner is between 25 and 55 years of age, there is growing evidence that the family unit, particularly where women are responsible for the buying of goods for personal use and gifts for others, significantly impacts the annual sales figures for all online retailers.
It also impacts local retail sales, with industry statistics showing that the research done by potential customers online, results in $1.50 spent locally, for every $1 spend on Internet shopping.
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