Banks break into £2bn Net market

Banking emerged as this summer’s “breakthrough” e-commerce category, according to the latest study into UK Internet use by research company BMRB International.

More than 1.3 million consumers – ten per cent of the UK target market – are using the Net to access their bank accounts, says the survey, conducted in August.

This is more than double the number of Net bankers registered in the last wave of research for BMRB’s Internet Monitor in April.

According to Paul Milsom, author of Internet Monitor, the relative popularity of other e-commerce categories has remained fairly static over the same period.

But the growing number of people going online, combined with a greater willingness to purchase, has provided a major boost to the overall value of online shopping.

The survey values the market at &£2bn, with Milsom predicting another major leap in value during the second half of this year.

Twenty-five per cent of Net users – 2.5 million consumers – reported they had bought goods online during the past six months – a 30 per cent increase on April’s 1.9 million.

“More people are getting online, and a greater proportion of these are making purchases over the Web because of a softening attitude towards buying online and increasing trust among consumers in making credit card transactions online,” says Milsom.

But the growth of online “window shopping” is still constrained by the high cost of telephone charges, despite the growth in free Internet service providers, he adds.

New Media is edited by Michael Kavanagh, michael_kavanagh@compuserve.com

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