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No.524 2007.07.12 Seoul YWCA
Youths claim that Internet advertising is disturbing and untrustworthy

Press Release No. 524, Issued on 12 Jul. 2007

Seoul YWCA

Youths claim that Internet advertising is disturbing and untrustworthy

“37.2% of the youths responding to the survey said that they had some experience of buying things impulsively after being exposed to Internet advertising.”

The Consumer Information Center of Seoul YWCA (President Hyung Kim) conducted a survey on the effects of Internet advertising on youth consumption.
As Internet advertising has diversified in terms of format and content and infiltrated deep into the daily life of many people, advertising on the Internet is having a powerful effect. As youths lacking knowledge of consumption are highly likely to be dictated to by advertising campaigns, Internet advertising is having a great effect on them.  

In this regard, the meeting aims to identify the problems and come up with solutions by conducting a survey to assess how youths (middle and high school students) think about Internet advertising, how they accept it, and how much effect advertising has on their consumption.  

♠ Survey period: May 15, 2007 - July 4, 2007

♠ Subject and method :

A survey was conducted of 1,000 youths (middle and high school students) residing in the capital area including Seoul, Anyang, Seongnam and Suwon via questionnaire.

♠ Contents of survey :

The survey includes 4 questions on the living environment factors of the respondents, 18 questions on their recognition of Internet advertising, 15 questions on the respondents’ experiences of purchase based on Internet advertising, and 2 questions on their recognition of Internet shopping malls.

♠ Survey results :

Of the 1,000 questionnaires, a total of 944 questionnaires (the rest were filled out inappropriately) were used to conduct analysis and generate statistics.

1. Response to Internet advertising:
54.4% of the respondents said that when advertising appears on the Internet, they remove or close it, while the remaining 45.5% said that they click on it in order to view the contents.  

2. Frequency of access to Internet advertising and most frequently accessed advertising:
15.4% of respondents said that they access Internet advertising two to three times a week, 13% said that they access it once a day, and 11.7% said that they access it two to three times a month. A small number of respondents (8.9%) said that they access the Internet advertising three times or more a day, which suggests that many youths are seduced by Internet advertising. As for the most frequently found advertising, banner (stripe) advertising ranked 1st, posting 42.4%, followed by home page advertising (28.2%), keyword advertising (search advertising) (16.2%), and email advertising (13.3%).

3. Reasons for viewing Internet advertising:
As for the reasons why youths watch Internet advertising, the automatic appearance of advertising ranked 1st, recording 31.7%, followed by the respondent’s curiosity (17.9%), while only 4.2% of the respondents said that they watched advertising to buy a product. This supports the survey’s finding that that 54.5% of respondents feel disturbed when they are exposed to Internet advertising at first.

4. Perception of Internet advertising:
27.1% of the respondents said that it stimulates curiosity, while 21.7% said that it never effectively delivers information on products. 28.8% thought that it failed to provide information on the products in a faithful manner, and a massive 75% said that they do not trust Internet advertising, which demonstrates that most people consider the advertising to be untrustworthy. People turned out to be more critical of the effectiveness, product information and credibility of Internet advertising in comparison with that displayed in other media.

5. Type of Internet advertising viewed at the click of a button:
Advertising on clothes and shoes ranked 1st, posting 36.2%, followed by books and CDs (15.4%) and electronic goods (10.7%), demonstrating which items actually interest youths, and matching the results of the survey on the types of products that youths purchase.    

6. Problems of Internet advertising:
As for the problems of Internet advertising cited by youths, falsified and exaggerated advertising ranked 1st (40.4%), followed by interference with web searching (24.9%), inducement of impulsive purchase (16.0%), and confusing advertising (9.8%), revealing that youths perceive the problems caused by Internet advertising.

7. Effect of Internet advertising on purchasing:
When asked whether Internet advertising helps make a reasonable decision to buy a product, 31.2% of respondents said that it does not, whereas 38.3% said that it does, while most respondents (69.5%) thought that Internet advertising was not helpful to purchasing at all.

8. Experiences of purchase on an Internet shopping mall and type of advertising:
34.8% (326 persons) of the respondents said that they have experience of making purchases after watching Internet advertising, and of these, 37.2% (115 persons) admitted that it was an impulsive purchase. As for the type of advertising that youth purchasers accessed, 40.4% cited web advertising.

9. The most important consideration at a time of purchasing a product:
As for the most important consideration for purchase when youths buy a product after watching Internet advertising, price ranked 1st (28.4%), followed by design (22.6%), practical use (14.0%), brand (13.2%) and necessity (9.7%). This demonstrates that price is the most important consideration for youths who suffer a lack of money in comparison with practical use, necessity and function.

10. Experience of and reasons for dissatisfaction with a purchased product:
71.5% (326 persons) of the respondents said that they experienced dissatisfaction after purchasing based on Internet advertising, showing a very low level of satisfaction. As to the reasons for their dissatisfaction, the product’s different appearance from that actually advertised ranked 1st posting 37.3%, followed by low quality (28.3%) and difficulty in returning a product (13.2%), which supports the perception that there is a lot of falsified and exaggerated advertising.

11. Monthly average spending on Internet shopping malls:
30,000 won or less ranked 1st (50%), followed by 30,000 won to 50,000 won (26.5%), 50,000 won to 80,000 won (14.8%) and 80,000 won to 100,000 won (4.9%). 3.7% of respondents said that they spent 100,000 won, with high school students spending relatively higher amounts of money than middle school students.  

12. Frequency of use of Internet shopping mall and credibility:
30.0% of respondents said that they do not use Internet shopping malls at all, 20.2% said that they use them once a month, and 19.9% three times or more a month. Female students turned out to use them relatively more frequently (19%) than male students. As for the credibility of Internet shopping malls, 49.6% of the respondents said that they do not have great confidence in them, while 27.5% said that they do have some confidence in them, demonstrating that people have much more confidence in Internet shopping malls than Internet advertising.

13. Types of purchased products:
As for the products purchased by youths, clothes and shoes ranked 1st , recording 63.9%.

14. Whether to get approval from their parents at a time of purchase:
38.1% of the respondents said that they do not seek the approval of their parents at the time of purchasing a product on the Internet, revealing that systematic education on consumption needs to be provided to help youths acquire a sensible attitude with regard to the purchase of products.

♠ Suggestions

Based on the results of the survey, the following points are suggested.

According to the results of the survey, youths are generally critical of Internet advertising, but many of them admit to feeling some curiosity towards the advertising or to having purchased products impulsively, and that this causes many problems. Most people were dissatisfied with the purchases they had made based on Internet advertising, which tends to support the insistence that most Internet advertising is falsified or exaggerated.

As Internet advertising is becoming ever more provocative, interest-arousing, falsified and exaggerated, education on consumption and promotion to help youths acquire a critical mindset amid the abundance of Internet advertising needs to be provided so that Internet advertising can actually provide information on products and encourage reasonable consumption.    

1) To the government

▶ Establishment of a social monitoring system for Internet advertising is essential
 - Monitoring by active customers (youths, housewives, schools, consumption     groups, etc) needs to be implemented.

- The rules and regulations related to the deliberation of Internet advertising need    to be strengthened and enhanced.

▶ Strengthened control against falsified and exaggerated advertisement
 - The Fair Trade Commission and the Korea Internet Advertising Review Board     continue to strengthen controls and corrections against falsified and     exaggerated advertising through regular monitoring.

 - The Korea Internet Advertising Review Board is urged to facilitate deliberation     on advertising reported by Internet users.

 - Corrective measures should be and are immediately taken based on the real-     time monitoring of Internet advertising through the use of a hotline between the     administrative authorities and civic groups.

▶ Thorough post-management is required after corrective measures against unfair advertising were ordered
 - Thorough post-management is required to monitor whether instructions are     fully implemented after corrective measures against advertising have been     ordered, and a system to put economic pressure on violating companies is     urgently requested.

▶ Opening of a class to educate on consumption at school
 - Continuous education on consumption needs to be provided at home and at     school to help youths grow into reasonable consumers in the future.

2) To companies

▶ Internet advertisers need to autonomously improve their advertising behavior
 - Internet advertisers are requested to improve their advertising and establish the     right advertising practices so that youths can choose the right products and     make the right decision at the time of purchasing a product.

▶ For inquiries, please contact: Manager Eun-ju Choi with Consumer Environment Department (02-3705-6065)

#701, Seoul YWCA, 1-1, Myeongdong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, (Postal code: 100-021)
  TEL 82-2-774-4050   FAX 82-2-774-4090   E-mail: sohyub@consumer.or.kr