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Democracy & Technology Blog Online shopping barriers

U.S. retail e-commerce sales reached almost $35 billion in the third quarter of 2007, according to the Census Bureau.
But only half of Americans have ever bough a product online, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which surveyed what it would take to increase these numbers. Widespread fear of identity theft is the biggest problem that has to be overcome. Also, broadband connections are needed by those who still subscribe to dial-up for the online shopping experience to become more compelling.

  • If the three-quarters of internet users who agree that they don’t like sending personal or credit card information online felt more confident about doing this, the share of the internet population shopping online would be 7 percentage points higher than the current average of 66%, or 73%.
  • If those who disagree that online shopping is convenient felt otherwise, the share of the internet population shopping online would be 3 percentage points higher than the current average (or 69% instead of 66%).
  • If those who disagree that online shopping saves time believed that they could save time by e-shopping, the share of the online population shopping online would be 2 percentage points higher than the current average (or 68% instead of 66%)….
  • Finally, higher broadband deployment would also drive up the size of the e-shopper cohort by 6 percentage points.

The full report, “Internet users like the convenience but worry about the security of their financial information” by John Horrigan, is available here.
Horrigan discussed the report during a forum at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.