Despite the number of e-commerce websites on offer, the UK's internet users seem to be playing it safe and doing the majority of their shopping at the more established ones.

According to Royal Mail research, despite the fact that there are more than 26,000 retail websites, 72% of online shoppers are buying from less than ten online retailers each year, with the average customer using just eight different e-commerce websites.

In contrast to high street customers, who shop in a wide variety of stores, this means that many online shoppers are not taking full advantage of the ease of price and product comparison which the internet offers.

Head of Multi-Channel Retail at Royal Mail Catherine Campbell thinks the UK’s consumers should be shopping around:

"Online retail continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, but UK consumers are not taking advantage of the huge selection of e-retailers available to them. "

Another interesting fact from the survey is that a retailer’s high street presence is a key factor in consumers’ choices of e-tailers. 42% said an e-tailer’s high street presence was a factor in choosing to shop online with them, while 41% chose those retailers with catalogues.

The survey's findings are backed up by  November's IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List, in which traditional high street brands, including Tesco and Argos, make up more than half of the list.

Those high street retailers who have yet to see the benefits of selling their goods and services online should take note of such figures, as consumers' knowledge and trust of their brands would clearly give them a competitive advantage.

Further Reading:
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006

Graham Charlton

Published 15 December, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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