Report: PC Owners Stay Offline at Home, Shop at Work

While many households still lack Internet access because of price barriers,others who can afford to go online at home are choosing not to for a varietyof reasons, including ready access to the Net at work, according to a new report from the Yankee Group.

Those reasons indicate that the trend is not about to change, said Yankee.By 2005, there will still be more than 800,000 PC-owning households in theUnited States that still do not have PC-based Web access, said Yankee Group analyst Rob Lancaster.

“Historically, there has been a group of Internet users in the United Statesthat have chosen not to have Internet access at home,” Lancaster said.

“A lot of technologies never reach 100 percent,” Yankee’s Lisa Melsted toldthe E-Commerce Times. “You think everybody has a telephone, but noteverybody does.”

Got Access?

Yankee said 7 percent of Internet users who also own PCs at home do not haveWeb access for those computers. For families earning US$25,000 per year orless, the main reason is cost, which was cited by 72 percent of the survey’srespondents.

However, 12 percent of low-income users said they did not have home Internetservice because they already have access to the Web at work or school;another 10 percent said they do not want to tie up the phone line with acomputer; 6 percent said they do not want their children to access the Web,and 4 percent cited “difficulty of use.”

Melsted said the cost issue is not insurmountable, since there are someproviders that still offer free Web access.

Spoiled at Work

Among users with incomes of more than $75,000, the main reason for eschewingWeb access at home was the same as for lower-income respondents: Forty-sevenpercent said they already have it at work or school. Expense was cited by 21percent of the higher-income respondents; followed by not wanting to tie upthe phone line (12 percent); difficulty of use (11 percent) and lack ofinterest (11 percent).

In fact, work is where many people do their Web surfing and buying. ADecember report from Nielsen//NetRatingsfound that nearly half of 2001’s online holiday shopping was being done atwork.

Speed Counts

Moreover, most workplaces offer speedier connections than the dial-upservices the casual home user might choose, said Melsted.

Many Web users, she said, are “spoiled” by fast networks at work and get frustrated with slow download times at home.

“That may hold some people back until broadband isavailable in their areas,” Melsted said.


    • Well, if I had to guess, they probably don’t like it very much — and the truth is that they have a right to regulate it if they so desire. On the other hand, each employer must make the decision individually based on size of the business, percent of employees with Internet access, seriousness of the problem, and potential consequences of allowing vs. prohibiting or blocking e-shopping.

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