UK consumers are expected to spend £2bn online this year, representing a fast-growing but modest 1 per cent of the total value of all retail purchases.
The latest annual survey by Continental Research suggests that the 11.1 million regular users of the Internet in the UK each spent on average £170 online over the past 12 months. Purchases are heavily skewed towards books, travel and financial services.
But, despite the encouraging trends in e-shopping, most online consumers rated themselves as occasional rather than frequent Web-based shoppers.
The average number of purchases made online in the past 12 months was four, according to Continental Research’s report, which indicates “that purchases are more likely to be one-off rather than habitual”. Only 5 per cent of regular users claimed to have made over 20 purchases in the past 12 months, and only 1 per cent made over 50 purchases in the past 12 months.
The survey also suggests aggressive “offline” advertising in traditional media is an important element in driving traffic to a site. Among respondents, 76 per cent said they have looked at a Website subsequent to seeing a magazine or newspaper ad; 55 per cent as a result of a TV ad; and 24 per cent a radio ad.
The bad news for these media is the reported decline in traditional media consumption prompted by Web usage.
A third of UK users claim they are watching less TV because of the Internet; 27 per cent claim they are spending less time reading newspapers; 19 per cent are spending less time reading magazines; and 13 per cent report they are spending less time listening to the radio.