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eBay predicts online shopping boom this Christmas

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New research by eBay Advertising into the behaviour of the e-buying consumer predicts a healthy Christmas for online, as 85% of consumers intend to maintain or increase their online shopping and more than a third (37%) will shop more online compared to last year, despite the prevailing tough economy.

The study also reveals 86% of UK online shoppers are shopping the same or more online overall compared to six months ago, citing trust (78%) and selection (70%) and value (70%) as the key reasons.

The UK findings from a study of over 5,000 European online shoppers reveal that Entertainment (71%), Clothing, Shoes & Accessories (67%) and Consumer Electronics (52%) are the top most-purchased categories. Whilst not in the top three categories, Groceries shows the biggest growth with 47% of online shoppers buying more groceries online compared with six months ago. Over a third of UK online shoppers buying Consumer Electronics (38%) and Home & Garden items (37%) are buying more of these items online compared to six months ago.

When consumers choose where to do their online shopping, more than three quarters (78%) say they only buy from sites they trust. 70% choose sites where they know they’ll get the best selection of items, and 70% say they always get the best deal they can on the items they buy. Value for money is the biggest reason why online shoppers are buying more items online across top shopping verticals, including Consumer Electronics (84%), Entertainment (83%), Clothing, Shoes & Accessories (63%) and Home & Garden (59%).

The study also reveals key insights into their response to online advertising as they search, browse and buy items on the web. 60% of shoppers are most receptive to advertising when they’re on an ecommerce site. This is significantly higher compared to only 5% who are receptive to ads on portals, and 7% who pay attention to an ad when using social networks. Display ads on ecommerce sites have the biggest impact on consumer purchase (23%), followed by sponsored links (20%). In contrast, only 4% of online shoppers said a video ad had prompted them to buy a product online in the last six months.

Based on quantitative and qualitative research into the attitudes and motivations of online shoppers from the moment they search to the moment they purchase, the study revealed three new tribes and their online shopping behaviour:

  • Consisting of nearly a quarter (23%) of online shoppers, Instinctives are impulse buyers who get a ‘buzz’ from the actual moment of purchase. They are heavily influenced by brand names, convenience and advertising and use these as shortcuts to reach the online checkout as quickly as possible. This group of shoppers are largely female (54%), with 56% under the age of 35. For them, price considerations take a back seat, and they are responsible for the highest increase in online shopping and spend over the last six months, across all popular shopping categories including Clothes, Shoes and Accessories and Entertainment.

  • A third (35%) of online shoppers are identified as Inspectors, who enjoy spending time comparing prices of products online to get the best deal. This group of savvy shoppers consider online shopping a hobby and spend the most time making sure they get the right deal at the right price, without compromising on quality. The gender split is equal (51% male, 49% female) and 51% are under the age of 35. Popular item purchase categories for Inspectors include Mobile and Consumer Electronics.

  • The Stock-takers (42%) are identified as the most cautious and sensible group of online shoppers, who research items thoroughly before they buy. They only shop on sites they trust that offer a wide selection of items to choose from. 51% are over the age of 35 and over half (52%) are male. They regard online shopping as a means to convenience rather enjoyment. The most common purchases amongst the Stock-takers are Consumer Electronics and Home and Garden items.

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