"Forget the hype about online shopping. Americans may use the Internet to research their purchases - but the information they find there doesn't necessarily clinch the deal.
And when it comes to actually laying out cash, most prefer doing it in person, according to a detailed study of online commerce released today.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 40 percent to 55 percent of shoppers surveyed said they looked online for information for three categories of purchases: cell phones, music and housing. But they more often relied on brick-and-mortar stores - or human agents - when it came time to buy.
"We find the Internet being used in a very tactical way," said John Horrigan, the project's associate director. "It tends not to be a game-changer in people's consumer decisions. It's used in a very technical way to help people eliminate options that aren't useful for them."
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