Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mall Rats Invade Homes

Do you remember your first exposure to electronic commerce? For me it has to be when my brother purchased software for his paramedic course via my now ancient AOL email account when he was living with me in Minnesota. Now those were the horse and buggy days of online shopping but it was only 10 years ago. As reported today (October 19, 2005 International Herald Tribune) via a study from ACNielsen Europe nearly ten percent (10%) of the world's population (about 627 million people) have shopped online at least once.

The demographic results of this survey are what most interested me such as the Top Ten things people buy online (percentages are what portion of shoppers purchased the item):

Books 34%
Videos, DVDs, games 22%
Airline tickets 21%
Clothing, shoes 20%
Music 18%
Electronic Equipment 17%
Computer hardware 16%
Tours, hotels 14%
Computer software 13%
Event Tickets 12%

An obvious observation here is that 7 out of these 10 items were no doubt created via some form of Intellectual Property (IP) protection whether via a copyright or patent. Given the nature of online commerce today and the legal and financial incentives provided by IP protection for someone to actually create what we consumers want to purchase please think before you download some "free" software or music this week.

For more on IP issues I encourage you to visit and/or read the book I am reading Hot Property by Pat Choate. If you have a different economic model please explain to me how it creates new wealth versus simply redistributing wealth stolen from the creative class via some "online socialism" (interesting -- class warfare migrates to cyber space -- how Lenin is smiling through his embalmed lips!!)

The last demographic from this study that I will highlight is that the countries with the highest incidence of shopping online included:

United Kingdom

My home country, the United Shoppers of Affluence (USA), ranked a mere #11 in this survey of online consumers which was explained by the study's researchers as, "Mall culture in the USA may explain why online shopping has not reached European levels. The retailing environment in Europe makes it more difficult to purchase things." Yes, that is true of the European retailing environment as I have noticed in my travels -- retail convenience is king in the USA but is a mere prince in Europe.

My blog may have to offer items for purchase in the future since as a bound copy of my best postings as ranked by my blog readers.

Shop 'til you drop,


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