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WSJ survey reveals reasons executives use the internet

LONDON - Hard-to-reach senior executives can increasingly be found online as new research from the Wall Street Journal Online reveals that nearly all use the internet at work and at home with usage rapidly rising.

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The survey found that 99% of those surveyed used it at work and 97% at home as well. The average hours spent online was 13.4 a week, which is up 20% from 2000.

By far and away the most popular activity is reading business news, with nearly all executives saying that the web helps them stay better informed about issues related to their businesses.

Senior executives spend 12% more time reading news on the internet in the 2004 survey, and they spend less time with every other medium.

The Boardroom Connections survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that the internet has now become an even more essential tool for senior executives, second only to national newspapers.

It found that the percentage of senior executives who use the internet often to read news or content for business increased 21 points to 68% for this year’s survey from 56% in 2000.

For pleasure, the increase was even more impressive -- a rise to 46% from 30%. When buying for personal use the top three items bought online were: airline tickets (83%); books (82%); and hotel reservations (78%).

General business news sites were the most popular, used by 92% compared with 81% in 2000, followed by financial sites at 81% compared with 58% in 2000.

Todd Larsen, president of consumer electronic publishing at the Dow Jones, said: "The survey results are positive for marketers that have embraced the internet as a key point of contact with this otherwise hard to reach audience. Not only do they confirm the internet's ability to reach nearly all senior executives, but they also reaffirm the importance of the internet as a business tool even at the highest levels of management."

The survey also confirmed that senior executives were among the early adopters of new technology, with 77% of senior executives using high-speed internet connections at home and 55% using PDAs often or sometimes.

Another 34% use wireless email devices often or sometimes and 39% have a wireless internet connection at home.

In addition it found that senior executives devote about two-thirds or 63% of their total online time to non-email related activities and more than one-third 37% of their online time to sending and receiving email.

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