A major international poll released today reveals that Americans and consumers worldwide favor home-based voting via the Internet.
The survey also provides perspective about worldwide Internet usage and other consumer opinions about technology’s role in retail, government and education.
Some 60 percent of U.S. respondents agreed that voting from home via the Internet would increase their participation in the electoral process. This compares to 52 percent of British respondents, 51 percent of those polled from Sweden and 47 percent from Germany. With only a 35 percent positive response, the French were far less enthusiastic about using technology for home voting; 63 percent of respondents in France were against the idea of home voting.
The study, sponsored by ICL, a leading supplier of IT systems and services in more than 70 countries worldwide, is one of the first international comparisons of how technology has affected consumer attitudes, lifestyles and shopping habits. During the summer of 1998, 3,500 confidential telephone and face-to-face interviews were conducted with residents in five countries: the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden. The questionnaires for each country were similar, with adjustments only when necessary to ensure questions were relevant to that particular country and culture. The research was conducted and tabulated by Market Opinion Research International (MORI), based in London.
Other significant findings are listed on the following pages.
— Forty-nine percent of American and 46 percent of Swedish respondents currently are using the Internet and just 17 percent of the French are doing so. Asked why they are not using this technology, 43 percent of French respondents said it is not relevant to them. Internet usage in Germany (24 percent) is also comparatively low, with lack of interest (34 percent) cited as the main reason.
— Americans differ with much of the world regarding Internet regulation. While at least two-thirds of all those surveyed in Europe thought an independent body should govern the Internet, more Americans disagreed than agreed with this statement.
— Technophobia is still prevalent in France (50 percent) and Great Britain (45 percent). In each of these two countries, slightly more respondents agreed than disagreed with the statement, “I find technology such as personal computers confusing.” — Americans and Swedes (63 percent both) scored highest in their confidence in their countries’ technological prowess and leadership.
— Nearly half of all loyalty cardholders regularly make use of the points or rewards they have collected through their cards, including 45 percent of Americans, and 72 percent of the British. This was the case even though Americans, at 66 percent, were especially emphatic in disagreeing with the statement, “My loyalty cards make me shop more often at places that provided them.” Nearly half of all respondents from Great Britain and Germany also disagreed with the statement.
— Americans also appear more willing to explore alternatives to traditional shopping, such as the Internet. Only 60 percent of U.S. respondents indicated they will not change their shopping behavior, while that number was 80 percent in France.
— Thirty-seven percent of Americans polled would be interested in a weekly food shopping service that delivers to the home or workplace, while the French, at 27 percent, were least interested. The British expressed the highest interest with 41 percent responding positively.
— Supermarkets — when compared to airlines, banks, gas stations, insurance companies and independent retailers fared best when asked what types of organizations had most improved their customer service during the last decade. Some 72 percent of Americans, 81 percent of the British and 75 percent of the French surveyed thought supermarkets had most improved their service over the past decade.
Government and Education
— Americans (82 percent) are the most committed to using technology in education, while the French, at 59 percent, are the most uncertain about it.
— 70 percent of respondents from all five countries believed that technology will improve children’s education. Americans gave the schools an only slightly better than average grade for their use of technology to date.
— Americans were more likely to want electronic access to additional government information at libraries (28 percent) or at home via the Internet (27 percent). According to the British, supermarkets (30 percent) would be the best places to install government information access kiosks, while the town hall got most of the votes from French (42 percent) and German (32 percent) respondents.
A leading supplier of IT systems and services, London-based ICL operates in more than 70 countries worldwide. ICL’s retail systems division is based in Dallas. Employing more than 19,000, ICL posted 1997 revenues of 2.477.1 million pounds (approximately $4 billion) with a pretax profit of (pound)30 million pounds (approximately $51 million). The company implements IT systems for major projects and provides innovative services to a range of industries, including retail, finance, travel, telecommunications, and utilities, as well as education and local and central governments. ICL services include outsourcing, helpdesks, network services, Inter/intranets, electronic commerce solutions, interactive kiosks, smart card systems, digital cities and Web sites.
MORI is the largest full-service independent research firm in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1969 and based in London, it is best known for its political polling and worked for more than 500 public and private sector clients in 1997.
For more information, contact Roy Miller or Matt Ricketts at Michael A. Burns & Associates Public Relations at 214/521-8596, or via email, at [firstname.lastname@example.org] or [email@example.com].