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UK shoppers are increasingly moving their purchase power to marketplaces, study finds

Amazon says the speed of delivery is now almost at pre-pandemic levels. Image: Jeramey Lend/

Almost 70% of UK shoppers say that marketplaces are the most convenient way to shop online, with highest value ‘power shoppers’ leading the way.

A global survey of 9,000 consumers, including 1,000 UK respondents conducted by Mirakl for its 2022 State of online marketplace adoption report, finds that two thirds of shoppers also increasingly prefer ecommerce sites with online marketplaces.

The research found consumer adoption of marketplaces to be anything but temporary. Following significant gains from the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, marketplace use has maintained its increased position in the eCommerce landscape. In 2019, 39% of UK consumers said they shopped exclusively on or a lot on marketplaces; in 2020, that figure rose to 56% and it held steady in 2021.

On average, UK respondents said that 41% of their online shopping now happens on marketplaces, with over a third (34%) saying their use of online marketplaces increased in the past 12 months, despite the reopening of traditional retail options. Looking ahead, the vast majority (94%) of consumers in the UK expect to use marketplaces at the same rate or more.

According to the survey, consumers find marketplaces better able to meet their needs than conventional eCommerce sites which only offer products from a single retailer. The report found that as consumers shop more frequently online, marketplaces make up a higher percentage of their overall spending. That is due to a combination of convenience and trust, according to “power shoppers”, high-value customers who make purchases online once per week or more.

The majority (75%) of power shoppers in the UK believe that online marketplaces are the most convenient way to shop.On average, UK power shoppers conduct 46% of their online shopping through marketplaces versus 41% for the average UK consumer, indicating that as people shop more, marketplaces take a bigger share of their spending. Most notably, power shoppers want to do even more shopping through online marketplaces: Two-thirds wish more of their favourite retailers had online marketplaces.

The report also goes on to uncover that, despite supply chain issues, speedy delivery is still seen as a given, with 84% of UK consumers expect their packages to arrive in 3-5 days or less; whilst 32% expect delivery within just 1-2 days, a sign of fierce competition from digital giants.

When buying products from third-party sellers, the majority of UK respondents will research a seller before making a purchase on an online marketplace, mainly (73%) by checking reviews of the seller. This demonstrates the need for sellers to maintain a high standard of excellence in customer service. Negative reviews are the main reason UK shoppers hesitate to make a purchase.

Almost half (44%) of UK shoppers say they are more likely to purchase a product from a third-party seller on the website of a retailer they trust, whilst 64% enjoy being introduced to new brands through a brand they already trust. An overwhelming 72% of Brits trust the online marketplaces of the brands they already have faith in, showing the power of building strong relationships with the customer base.

“This first global study on consumer preferences for marketplaces offers important insights for retailers as they evolve their eCommerce strategies for a post-pandemic economy,” comments Adrien Nussenbaum, co-founder and co-CEO of Mirakl. “The survey results clearly indicate that consumers want more of their favourite retailers to launch online marketplaces with third-party sellers. In today’s ‘always-on’ retail economy, shoppers prize the competitive prices, increased variety and faster shipping times that only online marketplaces can deliver. Moreover, this preference is strongest among retailers’ most valuable shoppers.”

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