A growing number of Canadian Internet users are making online purchases, but concerns over Internet security may be inhibiting more rapid growth, according to a new study from ACNielsen Canada.

The eighth annual ACNielsen study of Canadians and the Internet found that 41 per cent of Internet

users made an online purchase in 2002 – up from 37 per cent in 2001.

However, the study also found that more than four of every five Internet users (81 per cent) expressed some concern over making credit card payments online, with 51 per cent saying they are “”very concerned”” – up from 44 per cent in 2001.

Sharon Skurnac, senior director, consumer marketing services for ACNielsen Canada, said online merchants need to do a better job educating consumers about the safety of using credit cards online. Great strides have been made in making online credit card purchases safe. However, perception is reality. The real issue is consumer education.

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians used the Internet in 2002 – up from 67 per cent in 2001. Men were more likely to have made an online purchase than women (45 per cent vs. 38 per cent). However, when comparing last year’s results with 2001, women are closing the gap with a faster growth rate than men.

While Internet usage grew among all age groups, the fastest-growing Internet user age segments were people 20-24 (up 10 per cent vs. 2001) and people 65 and older (up nine per cent vs. 2001).

Also 12-19-year-olds make up the largest segment of Internet users. However, only 10 per cent of that group made an online purchase in 2002, likely due to their low incidence of credit card ownership. Those most likely to have made an Internet purchase were 25-34-year-olds.


Age Group2002 Web usage 2002 online purchasers
12-1990% 10%
20-2486% 33%
25-3484% 54%
35-4480% 47%
45-5473% 46%
55-6459% 43%
65+ 36% 32%

The findings are based on an analysis of data from the ACNielsen Homescan consumer panel of 12,000 Canadian households.

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