UK leads European online shopping

29 September 2014

LONDON: British consumers are 40% more likely to shop online than other Europeans and their intent to buy automotive products, computer equipment and e-books has tripled since 2011, new research has revealed.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Ecommerce, which polled 30,000 internet users in 60 countries, found 17% of respondents from the UK intend to buy a car or motorcycle online compared to 5% in 2011.

Meanwhile, the proportion intending to buy an e-book has tripled to 33% over the same period, Marketing Magazine reported.

Almost half (45%) of online British consumers intend to book a hotel room or buy clothes over the next six months while a similar proportion (43%) plan to buy airline tickets.

Another 41% intend to buy tickets for events, such as the cinema and exhibitions, while 39% plan to buy DVDs, games and books, the study found.

It also revealed that although UK consumers are 40% more inclined to buy online than their counterparts across Europe as a whole, a significant minority still have reservations about the experience.

More than a third (34%) do not like buying online because of delivery costs while 29% are concerned about handing over their financial details.

These findings prompted Mike Watkins, Nielsen's UK head of retailer and business insight, to urge retailers to do more to reassure UK shoppers about their security arrangements and to make their websites easier to navigate.

"More reassuring security features to improve consumer confidence are a must, while free delivery should be a serious consideration," he said.

"Sites should also have easier navigation and clearer presentation – retailers rightly put a lot of effort into perfecting this in-store and their virtual shops require the same level of attention," he added.

The study also found "showrooming" to be a common practice in the UK – more than four in 10 (43%) check out products in a shop before buying online, Internet Retailing reported.

Furthermore, half (50%) of UK consumers say they research products online before buying. More than half (54%) read online reviews while one in five (18%) use social media to help them with their purchase decisions – although this is almost half the European average of 33%.

Data sourced from Marketing Magazine, Internet Retailing; additional content by Warc staff