Traffic Piles up on the Net

February 25, 2002 ( - American investors in increasing numbers are not only more comfortable with going online, but they're doing their investing via financial Web sites, a new survey finds.

The American Century Internet Adoption Study found that investors are also less concerned about the Internet’s security and privacy – 26%, down from 74% four years ago.

US investors also think the Web has generally become more reliable with only 4% citing reliability as a concern – down from 14% six years ago.

Users are taking their rosy feelings about the Web to investment sites in increasing numbers, the survey finds. For example, nearly one fourth of those surveyed have conducted an electronic transaction.

According to the survey:

two fifths of the sample used the Web to check account balances,

almost 40% went online to check mutual fund share prices, and

almost 30%  used it to download information

Investors in 401(k) plans also are increasingly utilizing the Internet to conduct business on their retirement plans – some 68% in this year’s study, up from 43% in 1997.

Internet Access at Highest Level

The American Century survey also asked investors about their general Internet usage. Those findings included that nearly three quarters said they had access to the Web – the highest result in the survey’s history.

Users were on the Internet an average 39 hours monthly, double the amount found in the survey’s first year.

The survey covers 250 mutual fund investors who are at least 25 years old, currently access the Internet and have primary or joint responsibility for household financial decisions.