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One third of online purchases made from work

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A new study based on data from Comscore's World Metrix audience measurement service has found that 35% of spending at online retail sites in the UK occurred from work locations in the first five months of this year.

The researchers also found that online shoppers tend to browse at home then buy at work: Approximately three quarters of the total visits, time spent, and pages viewed in the online retail category were made from home locations, with the remaining quarter occurring at work computers.

Interestingly, visitors from work computers were slightly more likely to purchase goods online than those accessing retail sites from home computers. While representing only 25% of total visits to the online retail category, workplace visitors accounted for 36% of online retail transactions and 35% of money spent at online retail sites.

"Although online shoppers visit retail sites about three times more frequently at home than they do at work, they only spend twice as much at home," says Comscore Europe's md Mike Read.

"That online shoppers are relatively more likely to make a purchase at work is not entirely surprising," he added. "In fact, we often see that people have very different browsing patterns between the two locations, having a tendency to be task-oriented and transaction-minded at work and more leisurely when browsing at home. By understanding such differences, online retailers can better optimize their online marketing and advertising strategies to reach consumers when they are closer to the point of purchase."

Next, Play.com and Home Retail Group notched up the highest percentage of visits from work locations, beating online retailers like Apple.com and Carphone Warehouse, who might be expected to perform well in the office environment.

The data also showed that 29.1 million people aged 15 and over visited an online retail site from a home or work location in May 2009, representing 79% of the total UK online population.

Top 10 retailers, ranked by total UK visits*, May 2009

Retail PropertyTotal visits (000)% of total visits from home% of total visits from work
Total UK internet audience 2,051,59072%28%
Amazon sites49,43475%25%
Apple.com sites27,00287%13%
Home Retail Group16,06473%27%
Tesco Stores13,14868%32%
Shop Direct Group10,02977%23%
Play.com sites9,78270%30%
Next Group5,47365%35%
Shopping.com sites5,24279%21%
Carphone Warehouse5,17573%27%
Arcadia Group5,05378%22%

*Excludes traffic from public computers such as internet cafés or access from mobile phones and PDAs.

Source: Comscore World Metrix
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