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Many consumers still uncomfortable shopping online

Despite a growing trend for online shopping, nearly half of UK consumers have never bought furniture, groceries or health & beauty products online, according to recent research.

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Many consumers still uncomfortable shopping online

Despite a growing trend for online shopping, nearly half of UK consumers have never bought furniture, groceries or health & beauty products online, according to recent research.

The research, which polled 2,015 British adults carried out by YouGov in partnership with VoucherCodes.co.uk, highlights the products which consumers have never purchased online, with the following areas proving to be the least popular:
• Furniture (50%)
• Groceries (49%)
• Health & Beauty (44%)
• Electronics (29%)
• Holidays (26%)

As well as the current online shopping habits, the research also reveals which items consumers say they never plan to buy online. Groceries top the list with more than a quarter (28%) of respondents stating they would never do their supermarket shop online, while 26 per cent never plan to purchase furniture over the web.

In contrast, just five per cent of consumers claimed they would never buy entertainment products such as DVDs and CDs over the internet, indicating this sector has a healthy online future. Holidays also polled a lowly 12 per cent, indicating travel will continue to be an important area for online retailers.

Barriers
The research also examined what consumers saw as the biggest barriers to buying online. Two out of five consumers (40%) claimed they feel the need to see the physical object before purchasing it, making this the biggest barrier to internet shopping. The second biggest issue was a lack of information about items, which 33 per cent of respondents selected.

Delivery and returns also create huge barriers for people shopping online. A quarter (25%) of consumers state the inability to arrange a convenient delivery slot deters them from purchasing online, and a further 15 per cent state slow delivery times put them off. Similarly, almost a third (30%) of shoppers are put off by the prospect of having to venture to the post office to return unwanted items.

Solutions
The unanimous message is that reviews, ratings or opinions from fellow customers are hugely  important, with nearly three quarters of consumers (73%) citing this as something they would want instant access to when shopping online. Interestingly, consumers place these opinions in much higher regard than those of professional journalists or an industry expert, with just 39% of online shoppers wanting instant access to their opinions when making a purchase.

Looking to the future, the research reveals which technologies consumers would find most useful when shopping online, with two fifths (40%) saying they would benefit from a 360 degree product viewer. A similar number (39%) would like to receive free next day samples of products, such as fabric samples or cosmetics, before deciding on their purchase.

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