Up to half a million UK consumers a month could be shopping online by the end of 1997, according to NOP research published this week.
A survey of Internet use in December found 250,000 UK Internet users had made an online purchase over the four-week period.
Computer hardware and software top the list, with 27 per cent of those who had bought goods over the Net choosing this category. But a growing number also reported buying books (eight per cent) and CDs (five per cent), with wine (three per cent), groceries (two per cent), and even cars (one per cent) joining the list.
NOP estimates the current value of online shopping in the UK at 1bn, based on spending levels established at the end of last year.
“In only six months, the number of online shoppers has doubled,” says director of NOP Richard Jameson. “I wouldn’t say all Web users will shop online, but I believe the growth will continue at the existing rate.” NOP estimates that 2.4 million people in Britain use the Internet each month.