March 13, 1997 6:00 PM ET
Web window shopping gains momentum
By Michael Fitzgerald

  LOS ANGELES--Window shopping on the Web is a whole lot more popular than it used to be.

A new study of 6,600 North American Internet users showed that 39 percent made purchases based in part on information they garnered online. That's up from 19 percent in a study conducted in the fall of 1995.

"It's really a startling quantity," said Randall Whiting, president and CEO of CommerceNet Inc., which co-sponsored the study with the Nielsen Media Research Co. Whiting said the numbers show that the volume of "electronic commerce ... is many times higher than the projections that market researchers are making."

The survey also found that people are actively using the Web to help them make purchases, although only 15 percent of the respondents actually made their purchases online.

"But is that E-commerce?'' asked David Coursey, president of, a consultancy in Redwood City, Calif. "I think of E-commerce as how many dollars are moving across the Internet."

What did the majority of respondents use the Web to get information about? Not surprisingly, computer hardware and software.

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