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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Internet, The, and Consumption

DENNIS ZUEV

CIES-ISCTE, Portugal

Internet-mediated consumption has become one of the essential features of modern life. The penetration of the internet has caused unprecedented growth in computer-mediated consumption practices and an increase in electronic tribes structured around consumer interests, and has led to the emergence of a new e-consumption ethos.

When discussing the relationship between consumption and the internet, two processes have to be distinguished: consumption of the internet as a service and commodity and consumption via the internet. Consumption of the internet and its related services by different publics has also been studied as internet use. At the same time, consumption via the internet may be encountered in academic literature as digital consumption, online consumption (e-consumption), or e-shopping. The latter type of consumption is related to the habits, tastes, and tendencies of computer-mediated consumption of various goods and services. In computer-mediated consumption one can be engaged in purchasing material goods via online payments and getting the goods later by post, or receiving commodities and services in digital form or mediated/consumed by means of computer technology.

The internet has stimulated the growth of consumer-to-consumer sales all over the world. In countries with a growing internet penetration rate the population is increasingly shopping online, buying a whole range of goods and services: consumer ...

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