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U.S. ONLINE CONSUMERS NOW MORE COMFORTABLE PROVIDING CREDIT CARD AND PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE THAN OVER THE PHONE.

Results of a survey released by Market Facts Interactive (MFi) show that for the first time U.S. online consumers are more comfortable providing credit card numbers and other personal information over the Internet than over the telephone. In addition, against a backdrop of declining sales and massive layoffs across the U.S. computer industry, the survey indicates that 41.0 percent of U.S. online consumers plan to upgrade their personal computers in the next year.

Specifically, 56.9 percent of respondents say they are "comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" providing credit card information over the Internet, versus 43.5 percent by telephone. The results for providing other personal information (health, family history and income) are comparable, with 40.1 of respondents "comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" providing such information online, versus 32.7 percent for telephone.

MFi, a division of Market Facts, Inc., is releasing the results from its "Online Reality Check" survey in conjunction with the announcement of its expanded line-up of online products and services. MFi coordinates the online offerings for Market Facts, one of the leading market research and consulting companies in America.

"Building on our historic success in the offline arena, we have successfully transferred and expanded our industry-leading capabilities online," said Market Facts Interactive Vice President Donna Wydra. "Like the Online Reality Check, which is designed to cut through the hype that exists in the online world, we are taking a thoughtful approach to understanding why, when and how to use online research. We believe in being business-smart for our clients, weighing the cost, speed and value options before making research recommendations."

The Online Reality Check survey, conducted through the eNation service of Market Facts, is the first in a series of studies specifically designed to provide snapshots of consumer opinions on what they believe is working for them online. MFi posed survey questions from February 5 to 18, 2001, to members of Market Facts' recently expanded online panel. With 1823 analyzed respondents, the survey results have a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent. Additional survey findings include:

74.9 percent of respondents say they are concerned ("very concerned" or "somewhat concerned") about "spamming" (receiving unsolicited e-mail), 74.5 percent are concerned about the information they provide online being shared in unauthorized ways, and 71.1 percent are concerned about their Internet use being monitored.

78.3 percent of respondents with children at home say they are concerned ("very concerned" or "somewhat concerned") about "children having access to inappropriate information/Web sites."

60.0 percent of respondents agree that the existence of a Web site privacy statement/ policy makes them feel more confident that personal information will not be shared in unauthorized ways. Women, at 64.5 percent, agree more strongly with this statement compared with 55.6 percent of men.

80.8 percent of respondents say they agree ("strongly" or "somewhat") with the statement, "The benefits and potential of the Internet outweigh its drawbacks and potential problems."

Men indicate a higher level of agreement with the statement (84.5 percent) than women (77.3 percent) do.

"Whether it's the Online Reality Check survey or any other study, we focus on conducting great research both online and offline," said Wydra. "Clients today demand an innovative approach to help them better understand and utilize online market research, and how to integrate offline and online methods. As demand for online research grows, it is important for companies to be confident about these new tools. We're helping clients achieve that confidence."

"I think it's critical to have a research company that can work both online and offline," said Christyne Dzwierzynski, market research group manager for Unilever. "I want a supplier I can go to with any type of business issue and know they can handle it. That way, I feel they are making their recommendation because it is the best solution."

Thomas Miller, director of the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, "We recently completed a major study of information provider and user organizations. We asked a management panel to estimate the numbers of projects conducted online and offline in 2000 and planned for 2001. Online research projects, while representing only 7 percent of projects conducted by providers in 2000, are expected to grow to as much as 23 percent of work conducted in 2001.

"No doubt, many online projects will be cooperative efforts with custom research providers contracting with application services providers to collect data online," Miller continued. "A few larger firms have the ability to do both customer research, with client consulting, and online data collection, with its system requirements. Market Facts is one of those firms."

Market Facts, Inc. is a leading, U.S.-based, full-service, global market research consulting and information company. As one of the top custom research companies in the world, Market Facts offers a powerful blend of highly skilled, experienced researchers, superior data gathering and processing facilities and a full range of proprietary products and services. Market Facts works with a majority of the 100 leading multinational companies in the consumer packaged goods, automotive, financial, telecommunication, technology, pharmaceutical, healthcare and business-to-business sectors, as well as many government agencies and numerous other businesses.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Millin Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Title Annotation:Industry Trend or Event
Comment:U.S. ONLINE CONSUMERS NOW MORE COMFORTABLE PROVIDING CREDIT CARD AND PERSONAL INFORMATION ONLINE THAN OVER THE PHONE.(Industry Trend or Event)
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 2, 2001
Words:869
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