Internet Shopping and Buying Behavior of College Students


Marketing and Professional Sales

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Several years of lackluster sales in the retailing industry have pushed expansion into new channels in an effort to exploit any potential opportunity. As more and more consumers embrace the World Wide Web it seems a natural expectation and assumption that this channel may be the salvation of the brick and mortar store. This study focused on college-age consumers' responses to purchasing on the Internet. Young adults were specifically targeted because of their generation's tech-savvy embracing of anything wired. Over 780 university students were surveyed and answered a 108-item self-administered questionnaire. The study specifically addressed the issues of how often and why Internet purchases were made. As expected over 95% of the college-age market uses the Internet and over 91% of that group completes online purchases. Close to a quarter of the buyers are spending over $500 per year on Internet merchandise and they are making those purchases with their own credit cards. They are purchasing banking service, concert tickets, apparel and entertainment products. These young adults are also buying cars, mortgages and appliances over the Internet, but in smaller numbers.

Findings indicate that not all products are created equal when offered for sale on the Web. Motivating factors vary by product and generation. The results of this research have significant implications for future Internet marketing.