Women’s Use of Internet Affects Purchasing Decisions

REDMOND, Wash., April 9, 2001 — Most women believe the Internet’s convenience saves time and enhances their lives by offering them tools for communication, shopping, and receiving news and information. That is the conclusion of a recent study,* contracted by the MSN® network of Internet services and conducted by Millward Brown IntelliQuest. The study sought to examine how women, predominantly the household’s chief shopper, use the Internet and the Internet’s impact on the purchase of consumer packaged goods. In addition, the study found that the majority of women find the Internet helpful in making more informed purchasing decisions, affecting both online and offline purchases.

As the primary decision-maker in household purchases, women represent a crucial market for advertisers. The study targeted women ages 18 to 54 and a special subsegment of mothers with children under the age of 3, a key target for marketers of consumer packaged goods. Among the study’s key findings were the following:

New Moms

  • Online activity has replaced time spent on other offline activities; most notably,
    e-mail, instant messaging and online greeting cards are used more and are replacing time spent talking on the telephone and watching television.

  • 32 percent of new moms embrace the convenience of shopping online and go to the mall less often.

  • New moms, more than the general women segment on MSN, also seek expert advice and are more likely to visit sites devoted to family, kids and online games.

Women 18-54

  • 78 percent of women said they use the Internet to obtain product information before making a purchase.

  • Over 60 percent of women believe the Internet is convenient and saves time.

  • 33 percent of women research consumer goods online, then purchase products offline.

  • More than 60 percent of women click on banners to acquire more information, and 34 percent go back to an advertiser’s site after viewing the ad online.

  • Women are likely to engage in new online activities when experiencing a life change such as getting married, purchasing a home or car, or having children.

  • These online enthusiasts log on regularly (69 percent do so daily), and over half
    (57 percent) have been using the Internet for at least three years.

“While it’s not surprising that today’s busy women are drawn to the Internet’s convenience, marketers may be surprised by the extent to which women look to the Internet for savings and information to aid purchasing decisions,”
said Jed Savage, director of national sales at MSN.
“The response to this research has been overwhelmingly positive as we continue working with our clients to connect this critical audience with their brands on MSN.”

Because traditional consumer packaged goods companies continue to increase their online marketing efforts, MSN conducted this research to better understand what women want from their Internet experience. By examining women as household decision-makers and the role the Internet plays in their lives and purchase decisions, MSN believes this research will help its advertisers reach this critical audience more effectively. The MSN focus on technology, with the information found in this study, also allows advertisers to work with MSN to create customized marketing programs that focus on this segment of the online population.

About MSN

MSN gives consumers a new home on the Internet — a central place where they can get everything they need from the Web and make the most of their time online. With more than 230 million visitors per month, the MSN integrated network of content and services is the most popular destination on the Internet. MSN is available in 33 markets and in 17 languages — a broader global presence than any other portal. MSN takes advantage of the Microsoft® .NET platform to offer leading services, any time, any place and on any device, with an integrated and personalized user experience for communications, search, shopping, personal finance and entertainment. MSN Internet Access and the recently introduced MSN Explorer offer quick, personal and exciting ways to get on to and take advantage of the Web. Best-of-breed services include the MSN Hotmail® Web-based e-mail service, the world’s largest Web-based e-mail system; MSN Messenger Service, one of the fastest-growing Web-based instant messaging services on the Web; MSN Search; MSN Mobile, the customizable wireless information service; the award-winning MSN MoneyCentral™
online personal finance guide; MSN eShop, the one-stop online shopping resource; and MSN Custom Web Sites, the easy way to share information on the Web. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/ .

About Millward Brown IntelliQuest

Millward Brown IntelliQuest is the technology research center of the Millward Brown Group. A leading provider of marketing research to technology companies and Internet marketers, Millward Brown IntelliQuest provides marketing research services enabling clients to understand and improve the strategic position of their brands, products, media or channels. It offers custom research solutions, market and brand tracking, media research and business-to-business online marketplace tracking. Millward Brown is a member of The Kantar Group, the research and consultancy arm of WPP Group.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* The study was conducted from Dec. 7 to Dec. 20, 2000 and had a 95 percent confidence level. The general sample includes 2,222 women who completed interviews and were solicited randomly across the MSN network. A subsample of 936 new mothers was also collected.

Microsoft, MSN, Hotmail and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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