More UK Consumers Coming To Prefer Online Shopping

By Chanel Smith (@PYMNTS_EMEA)

The European eCommerce market is well past the tipping point, and a growing number of Europeans are choosing to shop online.

The eCommerce Index from Japenese eCommerce giant Rakuten reported that England had among the highest number of Internet shoppers in Europe. Research shows that one in five (20 percent) British people buy more items over the Internet than they do in-store, and about 18 percent said they purchase the same amount online as they do offline.

Rakuten’s results exhibit how online retailers and current trends are convincing UK consumers to adopt online shopping.

The Shopping Experience

Participants were asked what their top reasons for shopping online were, and UK shoppers replied that products were easier to find online than in-store. The question was flipped, and the survey then asked what the top reason for shopping in-store was. Consumers said the checkout process was more thorough and comprehensive. The report revealed that making payments in person is less complicated and that shoppers valued employee assistance.

Rakuten suggested that these results imply that online retailers need to expand their payment options for online shoppers, as well as provide virtual assistants to help guide consumers on the websites.

Clothing Retail Takes The Lead

Clothing and accessory sales are dominating the global online market, and the study reports that Europe is leading this worldwide trend. In the UK, the top three product categories with the highest sales were clothing and accessories, CDs and DVDs, and books and magazines. Sixty-six percent of British participants acknowledged that they buy clothes online.

Rakuten researchers report that online clothing sales are doing well because online fashion retailers have successfully managed to engage online shoppers.

“Today’s research clearly highlights the fashion industry is well ahead of the curve when it comes to engaging the online shopping community, said David Rimmer, trading director at Rakuten’s Play.com. “Fashion retailers have become excellent online storytellers, creating interactive and highly visual online stores in combination with social media to fuel customer conversations, setting an example which other industries would do well to follow.”

Social And Mobile Shopping Takes Off

The study shows consumers are frequently recommending products through word-of-mouth via social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Rakuten highlights that the social shopping trend is most frequent in Asia, with about 55 percent of consumers who recommend on social sites. In the Americas results show that 49 percent shared products on social media, but only 29 percent in Europe did the same.

Moreover, mobile technology is another trend still picking up speed, and the report shows that mobile devices are now the primary shopping channel for 14 percent of consumers in the UK.

To read the report click here.

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