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Wednesday, August 26, 1998 Published at 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK


US cashing in - Web polls

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall
A slew of surveys on Internet usage suggests American companies are cashing in on their Web experience to the detriment of UK businesses.

  • Fletcher Research predicts seven million people in Britain will be banking online by 2003. But it warns: "The online offerings of most UK personal finance companies are poor."

    "US companies such as Citibank, Fidelity, Charles Schwab and E*Trade are beginning to offer UK consumers better services at lower cost on the Internet."

  • American stores are earning nearly five times more than their European counterparts online, according to Datamonitor. A survey of 75 companies found that European sites had average revenues of $11,000 compared to $50,000 for those run by American retailers.

  • A British Telecom survey of directors from 550 UK companies shows that two-thirds are not willing to change business practices and risk losing out to those who have embraced the Internet.

  • More than one-third of Americans over 16 years of age are now using the Internet, according to a study by Nielsen Media Research and CommerceNet. The figure of 70.2 million adults was up from 52 million last September.

    The study showed that 48 million were checking out products and services on the Web in the US and Canada and 20 million were buying.

UK mired in stereotypes

In contrast, 8.7 million people have tried the Internet in the UK over the past 12 months, according to the latest National Opinion Poll. And users are still being stereotyped:

Gallup will release a survey on September 7 called "Death of the Nerd" and report that computers "are emerging as a lifestyle accessory for Real People".

More relevant issues will be addressed in Paris on the same day at the 1998 European IT Forum. Bill Gates will be among the speakers trying to answer the question: "The Impact of the Internet on the Global Economy - can Europe compete?"

The latest statistics suggest it has a major task taking on the Americans, even on its own turf.

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