A boom in online consumer buying can be attributed, in part, to the growing use of broadband links, a new study suggests. At the same time, an overwhelming majority of businesses have at least experimented with online procurement.

“Some trends such as experience online, the narrowing digital divide, and the shakeout among online retailers have been major factors influencing E-commerce since 2001,” says senior analyst Ross Rubin of eMarketer, a market-research firm that has released a report titled North America E-Commerce: B2C & B2B, which combines its own analysis with data from that of other researchers. “Yet a fourth factor now comes into play: the increasing availability and adoption of broadband. Add in refinement in marketing and transaction techniques, and it’s little wonder that consumers are doing more of their shopping and buying online.”

The study projects that U.S. consumers will spend more than $133 billion online in 2005, up nearly 50% from a projected $90.1 billion in 2003. Other findings from the report:

The average annual amount spent online among U.S. Internet users ages 14 and up–excluding travel purchases–should rise to $928 in 2005, up 30% from this year’s $717.
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