Quick: Picture the average web surfer. What image pops into mind? Do you conjure up an image of young computer geeks and Gen-X gals wearing a few too many earrings in strange places? If so, you’d better think again.
According to a new study released by Gartner Interactive, today’s typical Internet user isn’t the under-30 male that most people envision. Instead, the report says, the typical US web surfer is old enough that wrinkle cream and Viagra aren’t necessarily jokes. S/he is 41 years old, “gender neutral,” married, and has 2.81children. (One can’t help wondering if the computers made them gender neutral or if the gender neutral has something to do with all those kids that are only 81 percent there.) S/he uses a computer at work and has an average income of $65,000.
Age isn’t the only surprising part of Gartner’s findings, either. The average web surfer, contrary to years past, isn’t a novice user. Seventy percent of Internet users have been using the web since 1998 or earlier. Eighty-six million U.S. adults shop on the Internet, and 58 million users have made a purchase on the Internet within the past three months. With the holidays fast approaching, that large percentage of people who have previously made a purchase on the web is well worth heeding. According to the Gartner report, Internet users with more than three years' Internet experience are twice as likely to have purchased online than Internet users with a year's experience. Price isn’t the reason people shop online, either. Two-thirds of web shoppers don’t perceive web prices to be lower than offline prices. Instead of hoping to find super bargains online, most who shop on the web do so as a way to save time.
The Gartner Group provides business technology research, consumer and market intelligence, consulting, conferences and decision-making tools. Information about this study and others is available on their web site at http://www.gartner.com/