A survey has found that 27% of people who browse the World Wide Web have made purchases there.

MasterCard International and the National Retail Federation teamed up with Global Concepts Inc. to conduct the study in November 1995. They queried consumers aged 18 to 50.

Those who shop on the Web - the multimedia network connected to the Internet - cited the benefits of 24-hour shopping, worldwide retailer access, time savings, privacy, and easy comparison shopping. The most popular item bought over the Web is computer software, followed by information.

Topping their list of concerns were credit card fraud and the legitimacy of merchants.

"You're not going to find (credit card issuers) encouraging spending on the Internet until they are secure with anti-fraud measures," said David Robertson, president of The Nilson Report, an Oxnard, Calif.-based newsletter. Shopping on the Internet,"is like being in the vicinity of a pickpocket," he added.

Though Internet fraud is limited today, "when transactions pick up there will be an incentive for hackers to develop ways to commit fraud," Mr. Robertson noted.

The legitimacy of merchants is also a security concern of consumers, the survey found. Because anyone can get on the Internet, anyone can pose as a merchant. This concern may cause consumers to limit their purchases to retailers with local stores or companies with regional or national name recognition, the survey suggested.

About 300 consumers with daily access to a personal computer were questioned by telephone. In addition, more than 400 surveys were conducted over the Web,

The surveys compared the views and actions of Internet users with those of personal computer users who may - or may not - access the Internet.

About 19% of consumers questioned said they have accessed the Internet, with another 12% planning to go on-line within a year, the survey said.

Of those currently using the Internet, 60% surf the World Wide Web. About 84% of those surveyed who use the World Wide Web said they were "somewhat likely" to purchase items on it this year.

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