America's Influentials prefer the Net: RoperASW survey

NEW YORK: Most of the top "influentials" in the US are web junkies and prefer the Net to any other medium. Research agency RoperASW coined the term "influentials" to refer to 10 per cent of America's population whose attitudes, preoccupations and activities influence the rest of the population.



According to an Adage report, the latest "Influentials Online" study, conducted jointly by the Washington Post Co.'s WashingtonPost/Newsweek Interactive and RoperASW analyses this community-minded population that highly values personal relationships; relies heavily on word of mouth; and tends to perform a wide array of activities online, including banking, arranging travel plans, reading magazines and newspapers and making purchases.

Major findings

Among the survey's major findings about this group of Influentials:

* 77 per cent of the Influentials have Internet access, compared to 50 per cent of the general population.

* Six in 10, or 59 per cent spend at least one hour online each day (excluding e-mail), more than they spend with any other medium, including TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. The average Influential spends two hours online per day.

* 82 per cent access the Internet multiple times a day and 95 per cent at least once a day.

* 56 per cent recommend the Internet and an equal percentage of people recommend newspapers as a means to be reached by advertisers.

* The Web is the top media used by Influentials to research new places to visit (86 per cent), what to buy (82 per cent) and is second (78 per cent) only to newspapers (83 per cent) for political news and information.

Nearly 44 per cent describe themselves as people who are asked for advice prior to purchasing various products and services:

> Government and politics: 79 per cent

> Computers: 59 per cent

> Restaurants: 58 per cent

> Web sites: 58 per cent

> Career choices: 56 per cent

> Vacation destinations: 43 per cent

> Investments: 38 per cent

* Two-thirds are asked for their opinions or to forward recommendations and information about products and services. The advice is forwarded to an average of five to 20 people.

* One in three have broadband Internet connections at home, double that of the general population.

Another study, conducted by the Online Publishers Association with Millward Brown IntelliQuest, found that three out of 10 professionals who access the Web at work each day get all of their news online; suggesting that daytime is prime time on the Web and that marketers can't afford to ignore the importance of this audience.

The writing is clearly on the wall or should be say "on the net".

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