"Some 69% of all Americans have used the Internet to cope with the recession as they hunt for bargains, jobs, ways to upgrade their skills, better investment strategies, housing options, and government benefits," according to Pew's "Internet and the Recession" report released this week.
Pew researchers interviewed 2,253 adults and found that they primarily go to the Internet to look for jobs and bargains. Pew dubbed the Internet users "a subpopulation of online economic users" and noted that most have suffered some economic malaise traceable to the economic meltdown.
The Pew researchers observed that about 52% of Americans have suffered a range of economic problems from job and investments loss to pay cuts and even loss of jobs in the past year.
They have flocked to the Internet comparing prices, seeking online savings coupons, and generally looking for bargains. Some 23% have gone to the Web to sell personal items online over auction sites or classified ad sites. As for jobs, the Pew report found that 41% of online economic users have sought information on available jobs while 27% went to the Internet for leads on how to earn more money or to find a second job.
Users still use traditional sources for information with broadcast media continuing to outpace the Internet as a source of economics news. Broadcast media also continues to deliver advice on personal finance and persona financial circumstances, according to the Pew report.
Observing that the recession has spurred many to conduct more wide-ranging Internet searches, Pew researchers cited the case of a business teacher in Santiago Canyon College in Orange, California, who is using the Internet to study economic trends.
"I have paid much more attention to financial and economic news since the crisis began," said teacher Lynda Armbruster, adding: "I'm near retirement age and have less time to recover from mistakes or downturns."
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