Books, Travel Tops for e-Shoppers

When the history of commerce on the Internet is written, one thing will be crystal clear: e-shoppers like to buy books and airline tickets on the Web. In what may be the latest data to confirm this, the “purchase categories” of books and plane tickets are the most popular for the active adult online audience. And, according to a new study by Diameter, a research division of New York-based DoubleClick, this popularity hardly varies from region to region.

Though all across the country, adult Web users preferred buying books and plane tickets online (compared to the other purchase categories surveyed, clothes and home banking), adults in the West preferred these purchase categories the most: nearly 29 percent of the adult online population living in the West named plane tickets as its favorite purchase category, while almost 27 percent named books. By comparison, adult users living in the Northeast seem a little more content with their native environs (either that or they enjoy walking to the local travel agency more than their counterparts in the rest of the country)–a little over 20 percent of Northeasterners chose airline tickets as their favorite purchase category online, books came in at close to 27 percent.

The study shows that among the four categories surveyed, users’ least popular online purchase category was home banking, though users in the West seemed to be checking on their accounts and paying debts the most, with 12.5 percent of the adult online population preferring this purchase category. This figure shrinks to 6.7 percent in the Midwest.

–Both books and clothes did well in a recent Nielsen Net/Ratings consumer study. According to the Milpitas, Calif.-based research agency, Web sites for books and clothes came in second and third place when it came to converting e-shoppers to e-buyers. The top shopper-to-buyer conversion category? Auction sites.

*Source for purchase category info: Diameter @plan Advertising. Survey research uses 40,000 active U.S. adult users of the Internet. Active adults users of the Internet are defined, for this study, as adults age 18 and older, who have visited sites on the Web in the previous 30 days. Field dates are taken from April 3, 2000 through March 30, 2001 data.