FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, March 14, 2005

Personals, Entertainment Drive Online Spending

Netizens just want to have fun! A survey by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) has found that, out of the $1.8 billion spent online in 2004, more than half was spent in the personals/dating and entertainment/lifestyles categories. The latter category saw a 90% increase over 2003. The next largest category, business/investment, saw a 6.3% decrease from 2003 to 2004.

The entertainment/lifestyles category includes online music sales, which suggests that purchasing and legally downloading music is becoming a mainstay of e-business. This is particularly interesting as more consumers enter in the market for downloading movies and other media, as well as for podcasting. Single-payment spending online increased by nearly 5%, indicating that consumers would rather pay for individual purchases rather than subscribe to a service.

As for the personals/dating category, it remains strong but appears to be plateauing. JupiterResearch expects personals and dating sites to see a 9% growth in revenue this year -- respectable, but nothing like the 70%+ growth they enjoyed in 2002 and 2003.

The OPA survey is not comprehensive of all e-business activity, and does not include revenues from sites marketing adult content, gambling and illegal products and services. Neither does it measure revenues from ISPs or Internet business services.

Source: eMarketer