Who's using the Internet? Because no central governing body counts Internet users, no "real" number exists. And demographics change daily. However, surveys and published research does show that an Internet user tends to be a higher income, more educated consumer with corporate decision-making responsibilities. Average time spent on the Internet is about 18 hours a month with the most common applications being e-mail, chat, newsgroups and the World Wide Web.
Many companies are using the Internet to establish new marketing frontiers. According to Killien and Associates, revenue from goods and services purchased via the Internet will reach $600 billion in the next five years. The power of the Internet is that it combines the benefits of many traditional media. The Internet is like television in its ability to convey your message with pictures. It's like print media in that the reader has a permanent record of your message. The Internet is like direct mail because you can personalize your message to the individual reader. It's like the Yellow Pages because prospective customers must look to find you. According to a survey by a leading marketing magazine, more than 75 percent of marketing executives plan to include the Internet in their marketing mix in the next two years.
It's been two months since Draperies & Window Coverings launched our Web site, DWCdesigNET. And response has been overwhelmingly favorable. But our industry still has a long way to go to fully realize the advantages this new frontier has to offer. If you haven't surfed the Web yet, it's time to start. The industry's Internet pioneers, some large and some not so large companies, are examples of the visionary attitude needed to move our industry forward into the next century strong and healthy.