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COMPUTER USERS ARE WELL-OFF Poll finds members of clubs influential


Most of the information in a recent survey of U.S. computer clubs would barely raise an eyebrow.

The average member is male, middle-aged and spends as much time a week working on his PC (25.6 hours) as he does showering, eating and walking the dog.

But even pollsters were surprised to discover how affluent members are and how influential they can be when it comes to buying computer equipment at work.

According to a survey by the Association of Personal Computer User Groups, the average user-group member has a household income of $61,261. Seventy-five percent said they bought or recommended computer equipment for their employers, spending an average of about $80,000 a year.

"That's a lot of money," said study author Arthur Saltzman, a market research professor at California State University, San Bernardino. "[Computer] vendors saw this and went 'Wow.' They've really got their ears open to user groups now."

Survey findings were based on responses -- submitted via floppy disk -- from 1,441 people in six user groups in the United States and Canada. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

Mr. Saltzman, a Costa Mesa, Calif., local computer club member, is preparing to survey another six clubs. In addition to the national user group association, the studies are being underwritten by Lotus, Intel and the Association of Shareware Professionals.

Other findings from the first survey:

* The average member owns 1.9 computers. The most commonly used computer has a 386 processor with 1 to 4 megabytes of RAM, a 40-megabyte or greater hard-disk drive, VGA monitor, 2400-baud modem and DOS (without Windows).

* The average member spent $4,797 on his home computer and $7,072 on his office computer.


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