Increasing numbers of American consumers are going online to buy stocks and bonds and carry out banking transactions, according to The Consumer Internet Barometer, a quarterly survey produced by NFO WorldGroup, Forrester Research and The Conference Board.
Internet usage for financial transactions has surged during the past two years. Today, nearly half of Web users conduct financial transactions online, compared to 39% in the fourth quarter 2001.
The proportion of consumers using the net primarily to conduct financial transactions has grown from three per cent to five per cent, with more than two thirds of these logging on to financial services sites daily.
According to the survey, overall confidence in using the Web for financial transactions has been increasing since the fourth quarter 2001.
Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Centre, says increased confidence in the Internet combined with the everyday benefits of online banking and trading have prompted more consumers to conduct financial transactions online.
"These factors have also been key in making this one of the fastest growing ways that consumers are using the Internet," adds Franco.
In addition, more than a quarter of respondents say the ability to manage finances online has significantly improved their quality of life.
Online spending also gained some momentum in Q3 2003, after having eased in the second quarter of the year. More than half of Web users have made a purchase online in the past three months, with 30% having spent more than $250.