TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Not Even Web Retailers Will Be Exempt From the Aftereffects of Katrina

Not Even Web Retailers Will Be Exempt From the Aftereffects of Katrina

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 5 Sep 2005 02:45:04 -0400

September 5, 2005

AS the Gulf Coast reels from Katrina's devastation, online businesses
are struggling to gauge the impact of the possible loss of half a
million prospective customers for weeks or months.

"This is a tough one, because it is a big market," said Patti Freeman
Evans, an analyst with Jupiter Research, an Internet consulting firm.
"You can't get goods in there, and people aren't in their homes
anyway, so there's not much companies can do."

According to comScore Networks, an Internet research and consulting
firm, 860,000 people, on average, surfed the Web from their homes or
offices in New Orleans and the Mississippi towns of Biloxi and
Gulfport each day in the week preceding the storm.

People who fled the Gulf Coast will no doubt find Internet access in
their temporary homes, but few are likely to look on the Web for the
necessities of life.

Online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are no
doubt feeling the pinch more than most online retailers. Not only must
they cope with a deluge of calls from customers who had booked trips
to the Gulf Coast and now want their money back, they must also face
up to the possibility of a slump in sales as some vacationers and
business executives deterred from flying to New Orleans drop their
travel plans altogether.

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