Why People Shop Online – the big three reasons
• Convenience: 95 per cent of internet shoppers state at least one convenience-related reason. Convenience has many aspects. In particular, 24/7 access (cited by 83 per cent) and being able to find what you want quickly (cited by 80 per cent) indicate that the time saving aspect of online shopping is crucial. The other key aspect of convenience is that shoppers can avoid some of the disadvantages of offline shopping, such as having to carry items. For instance, 78 per cent of internet shoppers named ‘shopping in comfort’ and 64 per cent ‘avoiding crowds’ as key reasons why they shopped online. One focus group participant noted ‘I can shop in my underpants – that is pretty convenient’. Another commented: ‘You can sit back in your house… put the details in… not having to find parking spaces, not having to queue in stores and it is done!’
• Choice: The second main benefit people perceived was increased variety. In our survey, 74 per cent cited wider choice and ability to compare prices as reasons why they shopped online. Those living in rural or remote areas added that they can buy items not available nearby: ‘I was after Superman swim shorts – do you think that I could get those here?’.62 Indeed, 38 per cent of internet shoppers said that it was the only way that they could obtain some items and 46 per cent of respondents cited being able to buy products unavailable in the UK, highlighting the reduction in market barriers brought about by the internet. This includes lower market barriers within the UK, for example for second hand items, with 35 per cent of internet shoppers indicating that online shopping gave them more choice of second hand items.
• Perceived lower prices: Financial motivation was also important. Seventy-two per cent of survey respondents stated lower prices as a reason for shopping online, with 53 per cent mentioning special offers and 45 per cent free delivery of goods. Shoppers in our focus groups generally thought prices were lower, citing ‘getting a bargain’ as a core reason for online shopping.