LONDON: Consumers in Europe and the US are undertaking an increasingly diverse range of online activities on the path to purchase, new research has found.

GfK, the research firm, has released a report assessing internet retail habits in France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA. It found 58% of the European panel now use search engines as a shopping tool, falling to 51% in America. 

These scores came in at 75% and 68% respectively for researching products via the web.

Precisely 65% of individuals in both areas compared prices from different stores on the net, while 60% of Americans used coupons found on the net, declining to 42% in Europe.

Moreover, 67% of Europeans are now using the web more often to purchase products, peaking at 82% in Poland and 74% in the UK. This total stood at 62% in the US and Spain, and 52% in Germany.

GfK also discovered that 40% of web users in Europe, and roughly the same number in the US, are "Xtreme shoppers" who are extremely engaged with almost all aspects of ecommerce.

Some 58% of Americans fitting into this category used the web for ten hours a day or more, a figure reaching 47% in Europe. More specifically, 25–44 year olds people in full time employment were highly represented.

In all, 95% of Europeans in this cohort liked researching products on the web, declining to 66% in the US. These ratings stood at 80% and 90% in turn for viewing ecommerce as an "efficient" way to shop.

Additionally, 65% of Xtreme shoppers in the US and 62% in Europe compared prices between different retailers on the web with greater regularity than ever before.

"The down side to all this internet shopping is that competition is extreme," said Alison Chaltas, of GfK. "Retailers therefore need to find a way to reward loyal customers that will resonate with their current needs".

A 25% proportion of the same segment in Europe agreed they were also increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to help them shop, hitting 25% in the US.

Finally, a third of Europe's "Xtreme shoppers" saw co-creation as a promising technique for brands and retailers to build loyalty, as did a quarter of Americans, GfK said.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff