CBS Poll: Internet Users Are Young, Well-Off and Educated

A CBS MarketWatch (Nasdaq: MKTW) poll shows that about half of all Americans do not have Internet access, and most of those who are not online could not care less about the Web.

“Electronic commerce has made big inroads, but there’s investor skepticism and continued doubt that the Internet will replace in-person shopping,” said Kathleen A. Frankovic, director of the CBS Election and Survey Unit. The poll also shows that 65 percent of offline Americans — those who are not on the Internet at work or home — have only a high school diploma or less.

The Young, Affluent and Educated Are Comfy Online

The poll confirms that the Internet population is dominated by young, wealthy and educated users. Those over 65 constitute only 7 percent of the online world, while they make up 17 percent of the general population. Those with incomes of less than $15,000 (US$) a year — 9 percent of Americans — make up only 3 percent of the online world.

The poll surveyed 1,652 adults during the period of September 20th through October 3rd.

Most Investors Leery

Stock investors display some skepticism about Internet stocks and Internet trading in the poll. “Most investors think Internet stocks are risky investments,” said Frankovic. “They don’t like day trading, and most say they won’t use a 24-hour trading day.”

Only 12 percent of investors say that they have profited from the Internet, and only 19 percent say they hold Internet stock. However, the poll shows that Americans see the wildfire growth in the number of Internet companies as a positive influence on the economy.

Internet Users Hip to Other Technology

The poll also shows that Internet users are more frequent users of other types of advanced technology such as pagers, handheld organizers and cellular phones. Of those who use the Internet, 60 percent said they also own a cellular phone.

A good chunk of the Internet users said that they plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online. 35 percent plan to buy gifts online this year. 17 percent said they bought holiday gifts on the Internet last year.

Additionally, 53 percent of Internet users go online at least once per day. They seek information on products, travel and news. About half of Internet users check the stock market or get financial information.

Frankovic summed up the poll’s results, saying, “In short, the Internet is a business necessity and e-commerce has made big inroads, but there’s investor skepticism and continued doubt that the Internet will replace in-person shopping.”

About CBS MarketWatch

Based in San Francisco, California, Inc. brings together DBC’s real-time quote and news operations with the CBS brand. The company, which is jointly owned by CBS and Data Broadcasting Corp., went public in January of 1999.

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