According to a new study by The Kelsey Group and ConStat, Inc., 70 percent of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services - an increase of 16 percent since October 2003. This puts the Internet on par with newspapers as a local shopping information resource, with the Internet likely to surpass the impact of newspapers in the very near future.

"Use of the Internet as a shopping resource is already changing the face of local advertising," said Neal Polachek, senior vice president, The Kelsey Group. "Traditional local advertising media must find ways to evolve or risk losing dollars to the new advertising options available to local and small businesses."

"Most of the Internet's growth for shopping research can be attributed to large search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves, the usage of which increased significantly, from 47 percent in 2003 to 55 percent in 2005," said Tim Trickett, vice president of business development at ConStat. "Further, the research shows that the increase in usage of the major search engines has been powered by broadband users exclusively."

The Kelsey Group will present additional findings from this survey at its upcoming local search conference, "Drilling Down on Local: The Online-Offline Opportunity," taking place April 18-20, 2005, at the Santa Clara Marriott, Santa Clara, California.