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Online Buying Diversifies, but Concerns Remain

Consumers would still like to see goods in person.

As consumers in the US have grown comfortable with shopping on the Web, they are buying a wide range of products and services, according to the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future. Online purchases now include travel arrangements and electronics as well as birthday, holiday and wedding gifts.

The Center contrasted this with earlier e-commerce behavior, when US consumers were more concerned about the reliability and accuracy of product descriptions, as well as privacy and security. At that time, they were more likely to buy products that would be the same no matter where they were purchased, such as books and CDs.

Today's online buyers still have privacy and security concerns, as revealed by a Pew Internet & American Life Project study conducted last year, which focused specifically on concerns by age. Older Internet users were more likely to be concerned by the drawbacks of online buying.

Worries about sharing credit card numbers and personal information on the Internet started outweighing the benefits of locating hard-to-find items and convenience for online consumers ages 50 and over. The preference to see products in person before buying them online was equal among consumers in all age brackets.

Read more - eMarketer

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