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Study: Offline still beats online for some activities

Survey of American Net users finds that though the Net plays key role in lives, offline alternatives are still important.

The Internet is emerging as a key tool in the everyday lives of a majority of Americans, but when it comes to buying movie tickets or paying bills, they still prefer the traditional way.

Although almost all Net users conduct some of their day-to-day activities online, most still resort to offline means to communicate and make transactions, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported this week. Net users are more likely to get news, play games, pay bills, buy tickets or listen to music offline than online. Of the 18 activities surveyed, only one was more likely to be performed online than off: looking for maps or driving directions, with 87 percent of those surveyed saying they look for maps online.

For the survey, 2,013 adults, including 1,358 Internet users, were polled during November and December last year.

And many of those are turning to the Net more and more. Nearly 88 percent of online Americans said the Net is playing a role in their daily routines, helping them communicate with friends and access a lot of information. Sixty-four percent of the users said their daily routines would be hit without the Net. And about 30 percent of Internet users said the Internet plays a "major role" in their lives and they rely on it more than offline sources to accomplish everyday tasks.

"In just a few years, the Internet has made a strong mark on everyday life," Deborah Fallows, author of the report, said in a statement. "Yet, it is mostly the case that Internet users lean heavily toward the offline alternative for accomplishing the key tasks of their lives."

An earlier study by Pew said many of the 126 million Net users are using the Internet for accessing news and banking accounts. Nearly 66 million Americans go online on any given day.