Tesco has best image online

Tesco has the strongest brand image online, according to a new study, although arch-rival Sainsbury’s is close on its heels. Waitrose’s online home-delivery partner, Ocado, however, fared poorly, with only a third of Tesco’s score.

Continental Research, which has conducted a survey of UK online use and attitudes every six months since 1995, asked consumers to rate a selection of well-known UK companies, according to how appealing they found their online image and the overall feel of the online experience. Although only 14 companies were included in the survey, they represent a range of industry sectors and include familiar players in the online market.

Out of a maximum of 1,000 points, Tesco scored 598, Sainsbury’s 559 and Ocado 194. British Airways and easyJet also scored well (534 and 510 points respectively), but online travel brand Opodo fared worst of all in the study, with just 79 points.

Continental Research director Colin Shaddick says: “Overall, brands which have a strong offline presence rated more strongly.”

Continental also found that 60 per cent of the UK population has access to the internet either from home, work or college, while 48 per cent actually regularly use it. Regular users are more likely to be male (54 per cent), younger (only 13 per cent are over 55) and better off (71 per cent are ABC1).

One-third of the UK population (17.2 million people) has carried out some kind of online transaction within the past 12 months. Continental points out that more importantly for marketers, online buyers are more likely to be younger and more upmarket.

Banking was the product or service most likely to have been bought or used online in the past 12 months (27 per cent of all internet users, or 7.5 million consumers), followed by booking airline flights (25 per cent) and hotel rooms (18 per cent). Only 11 per cent of users are supermarket shopping online, six per cent hiring a car and just two per cent making telephone calls over the Net.

Those consumers with broadband connections are significantly more likely to buy products or services online than those with ordinary connections – 73 per cent for broadband users against 55 per cent for non-broadband.

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