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One-Tenth of the World Net Population Shops Online


One-Tenth of the World’s Internet Population Shopping Online:

627 Million People Have, including 325 Million in the Last Month

- Germans and British the World’s Biggest Online Shoppers

- Books Most Popular, followed by DVDs/Videos/Games & Plane Reservations

- Credit Card the Most Popular Payment Method, with VISA No.1 globally

Auckland, October 31, 2005 - More than 627 million people have shopped online, including over 325 million within the last month, according to a study released today by ACNielsen, the world’s leading marketing research and information company. Over 212 million online shoppers mention Books as among the last 3 items they purchased online. In addition:

- over 135 million people have purchased DVDs and/or video games;

- close to 135 million made plane reservations;

- over 128 million purchased articles of clothing/accessories/shoes;

- over 112 million paid for music downloads and/or CDs;

- over 106 million purchased electronic devices (including cameras, etc);

- close to 98 million bought computer hardware; and

- over 86 million consumers made hotel and/or tour bookings.

The twice-yearly global ACNielsen Online Consumer Opinion Survey, the largest of its kind, polled over 21,100 respondents in 38 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America and South Africa. The study asked Internet users around the world about their online shopping experiences including when they last made an online purchase, what items were last purchased (see Table 1 for a list of items covered), the method(s) of payment used, what payment card was used the most for online purchases and the most preferred payment method when shopping online.

In Asia Pacific, South Korea and Taiwan rank highest, with at least 90 percent of online respondents claiming to have ever made a purchase online, at least six in 10 of whom have done so within the last month. New Zealand was not far behind, with 87 percent ever making a purchase online, with one in two having done so within the last month (53%).

The world’s biggest online shoppers are in Germany and UK, averaging seven and six purchases respectively in the past month. In Asia Pacific, where the average number of purchases in the past month is five, online shoppers in New Zealand averaged four purchases compared to markets like Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and China where shoppers made an average of five to six purchases in the past month.

Seek and You Shall Buy…Entertainment and Travel

Across the globe, the most popular items purchased on the Internet are Books (34%), followed by Videos/DVDs/Games (22%), Airline Tickets/Reservations (21%) and Clothing/Accessories/Shoes (20%).

New Zealanders are happy to purchase airline tickets (40%), books (27%), videos/DVDs/games (19%) and computer software (19%) online but are not so sure about cars (2%), toys (3%), cosmetics (5%) or groceries (7%) to name a few. (see Table 1 for full list of NZ results)

“Using our annual ShopperTrends survey of 500 consumers nationwide to delve a little more to question why consumers aren’t moving online to buy groceries, we asked their main objection to online shopping. What it comes down to is the fact that they still prefer the physical shopping experience. They like to have personal choice and see what they’re buying. This preference hasn’t altered much over the last couple of years”, commented Alistair Watts, managing director, ACNielsen Pacific & Japan.

“On the flipside our Homescan Panel*Views survey results show a gradual decline over the last five years in enjoyment of grocery shopping which may provide retailers the opportunity to target these consumers to build their online shopperbase”, he continued.

Credit Cards the most popular payment method online

Globally, for most online purchases, credit card (59%) or bank transfer (23%) was used to make the payment. New Zealand ranked in the global top 10 countries to use credit cards for online purchases (81%) behind Hong Kong (82%) and Malaysia (83%). New Zealand also ranked above the global average in using bank transfer as online payment method (26%).

Cash-on-delivery is also a popular payment method used in some Asia Pacific markets, ranking 2nd to credit card in China (32%), India (29%) and Japan (25%).

Globally, nearly six in 10 say that Visa is the payment card (credit/debit/charge/ATM/ deferred debit) that they use the most, while about a quarter claim to use MasterCard the most. Visa ranks highest across most regions except in South Africa where over half of the consumers use MasterCard for their online purchases and about four in 10 use Visa.

In Asia Pacific, Visa is most used for online purchases in all markets except in China where the local brand, China Union Pay, is used by over half of the respondents while only 29 percent use Visa. In New Zealand, Visa was the most often used credit card for online payment (69%), followed by MasterCard (25%) and AMEX (3%).

# # #

Table 1: How many online New Zealanders shopped for the following 17 items:

Airline ticket/reservations 40% Computer Hardware 11%
Books 27% Groceries 7%
Videos/DVDs/Games 19% Cosmetics/nutrition supplies 5%
Computer Software 19% Sporting Goods 4%
Event Tickets 17% Toys/Dolls 3%
Clothing/Accessories/Shoes 14% Automobiles & Parts 2%
Tours/Hotel Reservations 14% Sports Memorabilia 2%
Electronic equipment (TV/Camera etc.) 12% Other items 22%
Music 11%

About ACNielsen

ACNielsen, a VNU business, is the world’s leading marketing information provider. Offering services in more than 100 markets, the unit provides measurement and analysis of marketplace dynamics and consumer attitudes and behavior. Clients rely on ACNielsen’s market research, proprietary products, analytical tools and professional service to understand competitive performance, to uncover new opportunities and to raise the profitability of their marketing and sales campaigns. To learn more, visit


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