INTERACTIVE: BEHIND THE HYPE/PROFILING INTERNET USERS: Yahoo’s findings prove surfers have a life outside the Net - A survey by Yahoo Europe shows that Netties use the medium to get away from the screen

If you live in Europe and you’re on the Internet, it’s a pretty fair bet you will use the search engine, Yahoo Europe, to help you get around the World Wide Web. So, when Yahoo published its first audience qualification study earlier this month, the findings offered some intriguing insights into European Internet use in general.

If you live in Europe and you’re on the Internet, it’s a pretty

fair bet you will use the search engine, Yahoo Europe, to help you get

around the World Wide Web. So, when Yahoo published its first audience

qualification study earlier this month, the findings offered some

intriguing insights into European Internet use in general.

The results build on existing demographic data gathered by studies,

including BMRB’s Internet Monitor, detailing who uses the Net, plus

their age, sex, average income and household status, to reveal an

upmarket demographic profile. Eighty-five per cent of UK respondents to

Yahoo’s survey were male; 59 per cent were aged 25 to 44; average

household income was pounds 44,000 and 73 per cent were homeowners.

Working with Continental Research, Yahoo set out to probe further,

asking detailed questions concerning financial products, leisure

activities, broader lifestyle issues and attitudes to online


The survey was conducted among 12,000 people in three countries - the

UK, France and Germany.

The survey discovered that 81 per cent of UK users do not work in

information technology or IT-associated businesses. However, if you

think that doesn’t make them techie, more than half of UK users now

favour sitting in front of their PC to watching TV which, they claim,

they are now doing less of. They do have a social life, though: 33 per

cent eat out at least once a week.

Other snippets include: 56 per cent of respondents would like to learn

another language; more than half visit the cinema at least once a month

and 41 per cent travel by plane at least twice a year to go on


Half use the Internet in equal measure for business and leisure. Eighty

per cent surf, while 74 per cent search for material. Seventy-three per

cent use the Internet at least once a day while 97 per cent say they

plan to make more use of it in the future.

Heather Killen, the Yahoo Europe managing director, claims the survey

represents a solid platform on which the company plans to build further

reports that could identify the number of users accessing different

consumer and business services, such as courier services or a particular


’We are eager to establish the characteristics of our users across

Europe,’ she explains. ’This is something that few in Europe have

attempted previously, although a growing number of sites in the US are

now able to provide detailed demographic, lifestyle and consumer

breakdowns. Advertisers want this information - they are interested in

reach, frequency and user qualifications.’

Iain Osborne, the Yahoo Europe marketing director, claims: ’The findings

prove the Internet is becoming part of the daily lifestyle of upmarket

consumers in the UK. They also reveal most of our users are people who

have more money than time - one reason why they overwhelmingly support

the concept of home shopping.’

In line with other smaller studies, Yahoo’s findings reveal users are

not worried about the security of making transactions over the Net. Half

of the respondents had shopped online. Fifty-five per cent believed it

was more secure than using the telephone.

Agencies have welcomed the study as further evidence of the attractive,

upmarket and affluent profile of Internet users. ’The findings endorse

what many in the industry believe - that the Internet is not just about

youthful surfers,’ the Initiative Media communications director, Andrew

Sharpe, says. ’It’s probably a better place to sell insurance to

business people than music to kids.’

One area of particular interest relates to online shopping and how

consumers access products on the Internet (see table, right). ’The fact

that purchases prompted by online banners came in third place might make

some think twice about the value of click banners,’ Sharpe says.

’The position of traditional advertising (in the table) is interesting,’

the CIA Medianetwork head of interactive, Bill Faust, says. ’A major

problem with traditional ads is that, although they raise awareness,

they don’t stimulate the consumer to visit an Internet site.’

Faust also welcomes the findings, although he questions Yahoo’s

conclusions regarding the newspaper profile of its users (see table,

top). ’I think the Financial Times’s position reflects that financial

people using the Internet regularly know the address they need and do

not use browsers like Yahoo because they don’t need to,’ he says.

Faust calls for further research into advanced surfers - their

motivation and aptitude for consuming non-business specific information

when using the Internet for their daily work.

Sharpe adds: ’General information on who is using the Internet is

becoming increasingly well documented. I would certainly like to see

further research conducted into what it’s used for and how. That’s an

area where all of us - service and content providers and media agencies

- could contribute not only to industry knowledge but, more importantly,

to advertiser confidence.’


Which newspapers do Yahoo users read and how much more likely are they

to read each paper than the average person?

31%      Times                 7 times

25%      Guardian              8 times

23%      Telegraph             4.5 times

13%      Independent           6.5 times

13%      Daily Mail            -

10%      Financial Times       5 times

9.0%     Economist             9 times

Source: Continental Research/Yahoo Europe


How do online shoppers find what they want to buy?

56%      surf until they find it

43%      use a search engine or other navigational tool

39%      respond to banner headlines or links

21%      respond to traditional (non-Internet) advertising

13%      react to word of mouth

7%       other

What do they buy when they get there?

50%      computer software

32%      books

23%      electrical kit

21%      CDs and music

16%      flowers*

15%      travel services

1%       groceries

* On average, UK respondents spent pounds 45 in the previous six months

on flowers bought via the Internet.

Source: Continental Research/Yahoo Europe


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