Despite the general economic melancholy, US internet usage surged four percent in October with 115 million US citizens logging onto the web – a significant ascent from the plateau of 114m, unchanged since May, and a year-on-year increase of fifteen percent.

The report, from Nielsen/NetRatings, also estimates that 62% of the US population – 176m Americans – now have access to the internet, up 57% from the figure of 156m in October 2000.

The greatest growth was noted at home and fashion sites, a trend partly attributed by Sean Kaldor, vp of analytical services, to current events. “As security concerns rise, there's more interest in nesting activities, taking care of the family and the home, buying a nice set of sheets,” says Kaldor. Another factor is the likely deferral of purchases from September when the nation was still in shock from the atrocities of September 11.

Other data released by Jupiter Media Metrix spotlights a trend toward patriotic and religious sites. Of US sites attracting a minimum 500,000 visits monthly, three of the top twenty-four newcomers were patriotic and two religious.

Observed Jupiter’s vp of media research Charles Buchwalter: “While September's newcomer sites focused on news, charity and victims' aid, October's newcomers focus on patriotism and prayer.”

News source: (US)