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Americans may complain about excess junk mail, late-night infomercials and telemarketing calls, but one thing is for certain: they work. Three-quarters of consumers who responded to a direct marketing offer in the past year made a purchase through a direct channel, according to a nationally representative in-person survey of 2,510 consumers age 16 and older conducted for Direct magazine (a sister publication of American Demographics) by Norwalk, Conn.-based research firm Yankelovich. Consumers who purchase through direct channels differ significantly from non-purchasers in many ways, but most noteworthy is their anxiousness about saving time. Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of direct marketing purchasers say that they regularly multitask in order to save precious minutes, compared with less than half (47 percent) of non-purchasers. They are also more likely to buy takeout food, give up sleep and hire people to do things for them. Direct marketing consumers also lean on the Internet more heavily: 70 percent of purchasers say that they shop online, compared with 48 percent of non-purchasers, and 27 percent make financial transactions over the Internet, compared with 14 percent of non-purchasers. As a result, they are also much less skittish about disclosing personal info online: While 58 percent of non-purchasers agree that it isn't safe to use a credit card to buy something online, only 44 percent of purchasers feel the same.

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