A glossary of Internet lifestyles



Based on a survey of 3,000 online respondents, these six shopper types are designed to give e-tailers glimpses into the motivations and spending habits of Internet buyers.

Clicks-and-Mortar - female homemakers who tend to browse online but buy at traditional stores offline (23% of e-commerce community).

Ebivalent Newbies - Internet newcomers who rarely spend money online (5%).

Hooked, Online and Single - digital veterans - young, affluent, and male - who bank, play games, and shop online more than any other dot-shopper type (16%).

Hunter-Gatherers - married Boomers with children, who use the Internet like a consumer magazine to compare prices and products (20%).

Time-Sensitive Materialists - cyber-shoppers who regard the Internet as a convenience tool for buying music, books, and computer software (17%).

Brand Loyalists - Web fans who regularly visit favorite merchants and spend the most money online (19%).

Source: Harris Interactive


Pew researchers, who survey about 15,000 Americans a year through daily tracking polls, have identified four kinds of Internet users based on their level of online experience.

Newcomers - those who've been online less than a year and log on for games and instant messaging (23 million Americans).

Experimenters - those online for one to two years who have begun to venture into more serious activities on the Web, such as comparing products, trading stocks, and getting news (27 million).

Utilitarians - Americans who've been online for three or more years and tend to use the Net as a tool for work-related research (30 million).

Netizens - the earliest Internet adopters who go online daily for work and play: to bank, trade stocks, pursue their hobbies, and connect to their friends (18 million).

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project


Nielsen//NetRatings monitors the Web behavior of its 65,000 U.S. panelists using the 62 clusters of Claritas' PRIZM segmentation system. The five top clusters for Internet access follow:

Country Squires - the nation's wealthiest, small-town lifestyle type, where 85 percent of the residents have online access and regularly patronize travel and financial sites (1.0% of U.S. households).

Boomers & Babies - these young, white-collar suburban families frequently go online for entertainment and automotive information (1.3%).

God's Country - the executive families in this affluent rural cluster often log on for shopping and entertainment (2.7%).

Upward Bound - mostly young, upscale families in mid-size cities, these residents tend to devour online news and sports information (2.0%).

New Eco-topia - this rural mix of blue- and white-collar families have an online access rate of 79 percent and typically visit shopping and sweepstakes sites (1.0%).

Source: Claritas and Nielsen//NetRatings


This segmentation system, built with survey responses from 125,000 North Americans, classifies consumers into 10 different groups according to their preference for technology.

Fast Forwards - affluent and career-focused early adopters of online technologies (10% of all North Americans).

New Age Nurturers - upscale, family-oriented consumers who are especially fond of educational software and Web sites (7%).

Mouse Potatoes - an entertainment-focused cluster whose wealthy consumers rank high in online usage and interactive games (8%).

Techno-strivers - students and entry-level employees who use the Internet for work research and career advancement (8%).

Digital Hopefuls - a low-income, family-oriented group with a passion for technology and the Net (8%).

Gadget Grabbers - lower-income consumers who regularly frequent entertainment-oriented Web sites (9%).

Handshakers - successful professionals with an aversion for all things technological (7%).

Traditionalists - a high-income, family-oriented group with little technology beyond VCRs (8%).

Media Junkies - upscale, entertainment-oriented consumers who love TVs, not computers (5%).

Sidelined Citizens - a kind of super-cluster filled with downscale technophobes who have only recently started to log on to the Internet (30%).

Source: Forrester Research


This segmentation system, which links the shopping behavior of MasterCard customers with survey data from Simmons Market Research Bureau, features three of 34 clusters dominated by online consumers.

Cyber Chic - young, high-income couples who are twice as likely as average Americans to buy online - especially stocks and airline tickets (1.5% of all Americans).

Clicks & Bricks - older, affluent Boomers who frequent both Web merchants and brick-and-mortar retailers at high rates (1.1%).

E-Generation - upscale singles and couples who devote the greatest portion of their total expenditures to online purchases - albeit still a modest 4 percent (3.5%).

Source: Transactional Data Solutions [Note: The author of this article has worked as a consultant for TDS.]
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