Logan Tod's Annual Online Shopping Index predicts that online sales will hit £1.26 billion during the Christmas 2010 shopping season, with UK consumers intending to do 23% more shopping online than they did in 2009.
The research, which reviews and predicts consumers' attitudes towards online Christmas spend, found that shoppers purchased over half of their gifts online this Christmas. Cost remains the most important factor for the majority of shoppers, with just under 70% choosing to shop online due to competitive prices.
As in the two previous years, the 2010 Index showed the largest growth is in the 'adopters' age group, 45+, who are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping online. These shoppers are more focused on convenience, with the primary reasons given for shopping online being prices, store opening times, home delivery and avoiding crowds. More than 70% of this demographic researched online before purchasing. However, this group is less tolerant to customer experience issues and, as the richest and fastest growing demographic, it would be wise for retailers to pay considerable attention to their habits, says Logan Tod.
Once at an website the most important elements for conversion were listed as delivery options (68%), site search and product availability (67%), and well-written copy (50%). It would appear that online retailers have been taking heed of these trends with 42% of UK adults stating that this year's online shopping experience was better than last year, the researchers conclude.
The most prolific internet shoppers (those who bought the majority of their Christmas shopping online) were most affected by delivery options and search, which varies from last year's research which found crowds and opening times most important. Interestingly, one third of all online Christmas shoppers used 'click and collect' this Christmas.
"2009 was a tough year financially for everyone, so it is not surprising to see cost play such an integral part of the purchasing process," says Matthew Tod, chief executive at Logan Tod. "That is why it's extremely positive to see that online retailers were so successful over Christmas."
"It is important to note that consumers are still concerned with the experience that they have online, with 65% of consumers indicating they will go to stores they have had previous good experience with," he added. "Search continued to be a big influence this Christmas with 42% visiting online stores through search engine results. Moving forward, retailers will also have to look at the broader influences on their sites, from back end functionality to third party recommendations; it all impacts the customer journey."
"The shift in the mindset of the consumer has produced a savvier shopper," Tod concludes. "The public is planning to do yet more search and is looking for money-off vouchers and promotions. By Christmas 2010 60% of shoppers stated that research will be crucial in their purchasing decisions, however a third of consumers will abandon sites that are not good enough quality. Retailers will need to be more intelligent than ever to target the more considered purchaser — the overall customer experience from search to purchase will be under scrutiny".