More shoppers click with Internet

BMRB’s Internet Monitor points to growth in consumer acceptance of e-commerce

UK consumers tripled their online spend to £2.5bn in the first half of this year, according to new figures from market research company BMRB International.

BMRB says online spend has grown by more than thirteen times in the last two years.

The average amount spent per online shopper has doubled to £403 in the last two years. BMRB attributes the rise to higher-ticket items such as cars (one per cent of purchases), electrical goods (six per cent), flights and holidays (nine per cent) and PC hardware (14 per cent).

Low-ticket items, such as books (37 per cent) and CDs (21 per cent) remain the most frequent purchases. However, 56 per cent of Internet users say they would spend over £50 over the Internet, an increase of seven per cent from last year.

Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of e-shoppers rate their last e-commerce experience as “very good” and 20 per cent rate it as “good”. Only three per cent were unhappy with their last e-commerce experience.

The report sees e-banking becoming more mainstream, with the number of Internet users accessing their bank account online doubling over the last year. There are now over 3 million e-bankers compared to 1.3m in August 1999.

Barclays and Lloyds TSB are the leading online banks, with share of 28 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. Egg is the leading Net-only bank, with a seven per cent share.

The Internet Monitor also ranked the service levels of popular Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Comparison factors were: value for money; speed of download; quality of software; and level of support.

The top five ISPs were NTL, MSN, LineOne, AOL and Yahoo. NTL scored highest on both value for money and speed of download. MSN scored highest in terms of quality of software and level of support. AOL scored well in speed, quality of software and level of support, but was rated poorly for value for money, because of its subscription charge.

Freeserve, the UK’s most popular ISP, was not rated in the top five ISPs on any of the four key criteria.

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