any other medium. A number of reasons have been offered to explain this rapid adoption. A long period of economic prosperity, Internet innovation, heavy investments by companies, and (as noted in the previous chapter) changing lifestyles of the American consumer (consumers are now "money rich and time poor") have all contributed.
The demographic profile of Internet users has changed as well. Whereas in 1996, the Web was clearly a male-dominated medium (82 percent male versus 18 percent female), Internet users are now much more consistent with the profile of the overall U.S. population (Figure 15-5), although persons with more education and more income tend to be online slightly more than others. The use of the Internet for shopping, searching for information about products and services, and buying is predicted to continue to show growth, as indicated in Figure 15-6. Whether the increase in Internet usage and e-commerce will slow or continue to grow at its current pace, it will account for a substantial amount of consumer spending, as can be seen in Figure 15-6.
Users: Business to Business The consumer market figures may seem astronomical enough, but they pale in comparison to the figures on business-to-business marketing. While some consumer companies feel that a website is not a critical component of their communications mix, most business marketers consider a good site a necessity. The number of businesses online is expected to rise to 8.3 million by 2004, with over 100 million business-to-business decision makers online.3 The revenue generated by these business sites is much higher than that generated in the consumer market—with projections of $6.2 trillion by the year 2004 (yes, that is a t!)4 Businesses in the computer and electronics, shipping and warehousing, and utilities industries expect that by 2004 they will conduct over 70 percent of their transactions over the Internet. (So-called heavy industries like aerospace and defense are expected to transact less than 50 percent through this medium.)
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