Tech clips

Windows 3.0 works just fine

A recent report from IDC says that consumers are unlikely to consider upgrading if they already have a PC that meets their needs, while businesses are postponing new PC purchases because they have other priorities.

IDC says global shipments of PCs will fall 9.6 percent this year. Earlier this year, it had forecast shipments would only fall 0.2 percent, but revised that figure after new data emerged from the United States and Japan.

Shipments of consumer PCs in the United States fell 17 percent in the second quarter, and IDC says they will fall 25 percent overall this year. An upturn is not expected until 2003, although international markets may rebound in mid-2002.

Where are the clicks?

Online ad spending in the United States totalled $1.5 billion in the first half of this year, down 10 percent on the first half of last year, according to CMRi, the Internet division of Competitive Media Research.

Yahoo! had the highest revenue from online advertising in the first six months of 2001, at $197.3 million, followed by AOL, $174.2 million; Excite, $90 million; Lycos, $61 million; and Altavista, $50 million.

General Motors was the biggest spender on online advertising in the period at $25.4 million. Next was eBay, $24.4 million; Amazon, $16.2 million; Classmates Online, $15.1 million; and JP Morgan Chase & Co, $14.9 million.

Collaborating on instant messages

IDC predicts the global market for collaborative applications will exceed $4 billion this year.

Collaborative applications include messaging applications and integrated collaborative environments. Revenue from software, application licenses and maintenance are included in IDC’s forecasts, but separate hosting and professional services are not.

The fastest growth will occur in the business instant messaging market. Instant messaging for business will grow at a compound annual rate of 104 percent until 2005; the number of global business instant messaging users will top 150 million by 2004.

Managing customers isn’t cheap

Businesses are likely to underestimate the costs of customer relationship management projects by 40 percent to 75 percent between now and 2006, says Gartner Research.

Large firms could spend as much as $30 million to $90 million over three years on CRM-related technology, labor, consulting services, and training.

Porsches for everyone

Online retail sales in Germany were up 50 percent in the first half of 2001, compared with the second half of 2000. Data from German research group GfK Webscope shows that retail e-commerce revenue totalled $1.72 billion in the first six months of this year.

GfK says 6.9 million German Internet users bought online in this period, making an average of 3.25 purchases each. The average value of each purchase was $75.

Grandpa’s line is busy

Fifteen percent of U.S. senior citizens have Internet access and 69 percent of those go online every day, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Only 40 percent of online seniors are women, although women outnumber men in that age group 141 to 100. That said, the majority of new users over the age of 65 are women.

Online seniors are more likely than other seniors to be married, well educated and have high retirement incomes. Ninety-three percent of online seniors have used e-mail, while searching for hobby information, reading news, searching for health and medical information, browsing for fun and checking the weather are also popular online pastimes for this group.

Trash the flash

U.S. consumers prefer Web sites that are customizable and load quickly, according to research from Jupiter Media Metrix.

Forty percent of Internet users would visit a news or information site more often if its pages loaded quickly, while 36 percent would visit more often if the site could be customized to their preferences. Polling or chat capabilities would attract 31 percent of users.

On the other hand, only 20 percent would visit a content site more often if it offered rich media; only 15 percent would visit more often if it offered wireless feeds.

Global domination is next

Research from StatMarket shows that Internet Explorer 6.0 garnered 2.4 percent of the global browser usage market within a week of its launch. By then, it had already exceeded Netscape 6.0 in popularity.

StatMarket says that Internet Explorer 6.0 is not likely to win over users as much as its predecessor, Internet Explorer 5.0, did. Netscape now has a solid user base, and unless IE6 proves to be significantly better than IE5, many users will not bother to upgrade.

The Web is a fad

A report from the Yankee Group shows the number of Web strategists who say their managers do not see the Internet as important to corporate strategy has doubled in the past year.

The main reason for this skepticism toward the Internet is the difficulty in measuring the success of a Web site. The Yankee Group says that companies must employ site traffic and usage measurement, as well as measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and the level of internal efficiencies gained as a result of having a corporate Web site.

The study also found that traffic to corporate sites is mainly driven by offline promotion.

Where are the online census forms?

The Census Bureau found that 94 million people used the Internet at home in the United States last year, up from 57 million in 1998.

Fifty-four million households had at least one PC at home last year; 44 million had Internet access.

Almost 90 percent of households with annual incomes of more than $75,000 had a PC at home and 80 percent had Internet access. Less than 30 percent of households with incomes below $25,000 had a PC and about 20 percent had Internet access.

The hours are better

The Internet is replacing the library as the first port of call for U.S. students working on projects, according to Pew Internet.

Pew found that 71 percent of the teens polled say the Internet is their primary source of information for schoolwork. Only 24 percent said the library was their primary source.

E-mail is for losers

Many large corporate firms continue to ignore customer requests sent via e-mail, according to a study from Rainier.

The consultancy tried to contact all of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States through their Web sites; 10 could not be contacted at all through their sites. Of those that were contacted, 19, including Home Depot, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Sprint, did not reply to a request for basic investor information within 30 days of the request being sent.

The fastest responses came from Coca-Cola, UtiliCorp and Conoco, all within one minute.

You can take it to the bank

There are 13.6 million U.S. Internet users that actively use online banking services, according to Gomez.

This is an increase of 7.5 million users since the end of 1999, and Gomez says there are a further 16.3 million Internet users ready to actively use online banking services.

Cable leads the way

eMarketer reports that U.S. at-home broadband subscribers will total 10.7 million this year, and 30.6 million by 2004.

These figures are from Parks Associates, which says the majority of broadband users will subscribe to cable modem services: 6.1 million this year, 8.5 million next year, 10.9 million in 2003 and 13.9 million in 2004.

More aimless surfing

Sixty-six percent of the U.S. work force has Internet access at work, according to a survey from Xylo.

Last year, only 44 percent of workers could go online in the office.

Sixty-seven percent of those polled this year said using the Internet increases their productivity at work, up from 46 percent last year. The more often people go online at work, the more likely they are to say having Net access boosts their productivity.

Small firms are on the move

The number of small firms in the United States that access the Internet via a wireless device has more than doubled this year.

According to the Cyber Dialogue U.S. Small Business Internet survey, 101,000 small firms now use wireless devices to go online, up from 44,000 last year.

Sixty-six percent of small businesses said wireless e-mail was the main motivation for getting wireless Internet access. Fifty-three percent said document exchange was another important motivation, while 40 percent cited technical support.

How much does it really cost?

Almost 70 percent of traditional retailers underestimate the return on investment of their Web sites, says Jupiter Media Metrix.

Traditional retailers tend to focus on sales and profit to calculate ROI, instead of examining other benefits a Web site can bring, such as offline sales influenced by the site and improved payroll productivity.

The ROI of the Web sites of bricks-and-mortar retailers is up to 65 percent higher when these extra factors are taken into account. A traditional retailer with a successful site should find that up to two-thirds of the benefits from its online channel lie in the nontransactional features of the site.

Gambling away your profits

The worldwide wireless gaming market will be 18 times larger in 2006 than it is at present, according to DataMonitor. Combined wireless gaming revenue from the Asia-Pacific, European and U.S. markets will amount to $950 million this year and is expected to rise to $17.5 billion by 2006.

At the moment, there are about 120 million wireless gamers around the world: 60 million in the Asia-Pacific region, 40 million in Europe and 20 million in the United States. The total figure is expected to triple by 2006.

Searching for the right search

Most online marketers continue to spend very little on search engine optimization, according to CyberAtlas Research.

Almost 46 percent of the marketers polled said they spend less than 0.5 percent of their annual budgets on search engine optimization. Only 10 percent spend more than 25 percent of their budgets on making sure their sites performed well on search engines, despite the fact that 24 percent of those surveyed said more than three-quarters of their traffic came from search engine referrals.

Security is tight

Only 9 percent of the world’s largest companies have suffered a technology security breach in the past year, according to a poll from KPMG.

Although the respondents agreed the security of credit card numbers and personal information was the most important security concern of their customers, less than 35 percent had security audits performed on their e-commerce systems; only 12 percent had a seal on their site to show they had passed a security audit.

The true king

The world’s most popular Web property is still Yahoo!, according to global Internet traffic figures released by Nielsen NetRatings.

MSN is the second most popular destination for Internet users around the world, followed by AOL Time Warner properties, Microsoft properties and the Lycos Network.

Norwegians in disguise?

Research from Ipsos Reid indicates that Canadian Internet users’ online behavior is more like that of Scandinavians than of U.S. Internet users.

Like Scandinavians, Canadians are more likely than their U.S. counterparts to bank online, download music and have broadband Internet access.

More than 60 percent of active Internet users in Canada have banked online, compared with 29 percent active U.S. users. Fifteen percent of Canadians polled have invested online, while only 10 percent of U.S. users have.

Falling asleep on the keyboard

New broadband Internet users tend to spend far more time online than they did when they had dial-up Internet access, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

The group of new broadband users studied by Nielsen viewed 5.5 billion Web pages in July, up from 2.4 million pages in January, when they had dial-up access.

New broadband users also go online more often once they have high-speed access. They used the Internet 28 times on average in July, up from an average of 22 sessions in January. They also averaged 23 percent more time online that month.