Survey Results



Some Current Hypotheses

In order to predict how much Internet shopping will take off in the years to come, we must understand the shopper first. Researchers who devote their time and energy to this topic have come up with eight hypotheses that are constantly being studied all over the world via surveys and experiments. These hypotheses compare the Internet shopper to the non-shopper and are as follows:

  • H1: Internet shoppers are more active as in-home shoppers

  • H2: Internet shoppers have more Internet experience

  • H3: Internet shoppers use the Internet more frequently

  • H4: Internet shoppers have longer Internet sessions

  • H5: Internet shoppers are more likely to work in the computer branch

  • H6: Internet shoppers are more likely to use the Internet in their work

  • H7: Internet shoppers have found unique products on the Internet

  • H8: Internet shoppers perceive less risk in Internet shopping than non-shoppers



  • Surveys Taken

    To study these hypotheses, an empirical WWW survey was run during September and October 1996 by the GVU (Graphic, Visualization & Usability Center) at Georgia Tech University (GVU, 1994) and is still being administered today. The latest questionnaire was given during a 3-week period and 387 people from all over the world responded. Past surveys have indicated that most of the respondents are experienced Internet users. In this latest survey, 96 percent of the respondents were male and the average age was 35 years old. Seventy-nine percent worked in the computer branch and 46 percent used the Internet in their work (1994). The following graphical visualizations of the results for these hypotheses will help us to better understand the Internet shopper as compared to the In-home shopper.


    Shopping activity of active In-home shoppers vs. Internet shoppers



    Those who had shopped at home using conventional mail, phone or fax orders at least once in the past 3 months are classified as active In-home shoppers . This group comprised 53 percent of the total respondents. Those who had shopped on the Internet at least once are classified as Internet shoppers. These people make up about 52 percent of the respondents (Darian, 1987).

    The fact that 87 percent of those who had ever shopped on the Internet had shopped there in the past 3 months can thus reflect two things which warrant further study: 1) the Internet is so new that users are just beginning to shop there and 2) the users are happy with Internet shopping and continue to use it. Hypotheses H1…H8 were statistically tested and those hypotheses that did not pass the 95% significance test were rejected.

    H1: Internet shoppers are more active as in-home shoppers

    Active in-home shoppers among Internet shoppers and non-shoppers

    Percentage of active in-home shoppers among Internet shoppers and non-shoppers
    (Rissa, 1995)

    The first hypothesis was in fact confirmed (p>99.9 percent). Without a doubt, Internet shoppers are far more likely to be active in-home shoppers leading us to believe that Internet shopping and conventional in-home shopping behavior are strongly related.



    H2: Internet shoppers have more Internet experience


    Distribution of Internet experience

    Distribution of Internet experience
    (Rissa, 1995)

    The second hypothesis was also confirmed (p>99.9 percent) because it seems quite natural that experienced Internet users would be more likely to have already shopped.



    H3: Internet shoppers use the Internet more frequently

    Everyday Internet users among shoppers and non-shoppers

    Everyday Internet users among shoppers and non-shoppers
    (Rissa, 1995)

    Hypothesis three was confirmed as well(p>95 percent). It seems that frequency of Internet use is positively related to Internet shopping and everyday users were significantly more likely to have shopped on the Internet. There was no correlation between frequency of use and time pressure when using the Internet.



    H4: Internet shoppers have longer Internet sessions

    Session length

    Internet shoppers and non-shoppers by session length
    (Rissa, 1995)

    The fourth hypothesis was confirmed (p>99 percent) due to the fact that there is a significant difference between shoppers and non-shoppers in how long their average Internet session is. One hour seems to be the dividing session length. There was a slightly negative correlation between session length and time pressure when using the Internet (significance level 94 percent). Users who had shorter sessions felt slightly more time pressure.

    Hypotheses five and seven are confirmed also. Internet shoppers are indeed more likely to work in the computer branch and Internet shoppers have found unique products on the Internet. The seventh hypothesis is believed to be rejected since Internet professionals were no more likely to shop for home use. Non-shoppers had found interesting products too but they had not bought them for some reason. One of the reasons could be a high risk perceived in shopping from the Internet.

    This brings us to a whole new can of worms, that being the fact that Internet shoppers perceive less risk in Internet shopping than non-shoppers. Thus, three questions are used to measure the risk perceived in Internet shopping:

  • 1)It's risky to buy without seeing the product first

  • 2)There is no secure enough way to pay on-line

  • 3)It can take a long time before a person gets the product he/she ordered
  • .

    Risk factors

    Risk factors perceived by shoppers and non-shoppers
    (Rutkowski, 1996)

    It seems that all of the risk factors in this survey contributed negatively to Internet shopping and hypothesis number eight is also confirmed.



    Additional findings

    Besides the eight previous findings we have just discussed, this survey also found several other intriguing bits of information concerning shoppers and they are listed below.


    Let us move on



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