Men drive growth of online shopping

Men drive growth of online shopping

Online shopping is growing 26 times faster than high street sales and a new survey says it’s mostly down to men.

Online shopping is growing 26 times faster than high street sales, as many take the easier and often cheaper option of buying goods online.

The Internet Measurement Research Group (IMRG), the leading industry body for global e-retailing, is predicting that online shopping will increase by 40 per cent in 2007, driving sales of up to £42 billion from around £30 billion in 2006.

The British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) believes it’s mostly doen to men. They want to avoid the high street out of a loathing for shopping and are largely driving the success of online shopping.

In a study of over 1,000 consumers, 65 retailers and 100 developers, the BCSC found that growing numbers of shoppers were buying high-priced electronic goods online, such as LCD TVs and digital cameras. It was found that shoppers were attracted by convenience, huge choice, rich information and significant savings. One of these savings is precious time: it is estimated that shopping exclusively online would save the equivalent of an extra week’s holiday each year.

The study has helped BCSC identify how five specific groups of consumers feel about shopping online.

Net sceptics, store shoppers. These are the largest group and the least likely to purchase online, either due to security concerns or because they enjoy the experience of physical stores where they can touch and feel products. They are not even likely to use the net to browse or research products.

Net browsers, store shoppers. They enjoy the experience of shopping in real stores where they can touch and feel products, try them on and take away immediately. These shoppers will often use the net for researching products and services and to compare prices. This group is most likely to combine browsing online with purchasing in physical stores.

E-shoppers. Mainly men, they are most likely to shop online and plan to do more of their shopping online. They see shopping in stores as a chore. E-shoppers are attracted by the convenience of online shopping, find it easy and believe it provides the lowest prices.

Multi-channel shoppers. They shop online but are not as passionate about it as the e-shoppers. This group likes to shop around different channels. They may browse in shops and then purchase online, seeking out the best prices.

Internet café contenders. They are not likely to shop online, although they could be converted, particularly if internet facilities were provided in shopping centres.

The report concludes that men find it much more convenient and cost efficient to shop on the internet than on the high street. They are also much more likely than women to use the internet to research products and services and to compare prices to get the best deals. The “hunter” approach to shopping persists, as they have a specific idea of what they want to buy and do so online.

According to the BCSC, women don’t share this view. “Women were at the opposite spectrum compared with men when it came to their future intentions,” the organisation says. “They were certainly not planning to do more shopping online, nor did they think it was more convenient to shop online.”

Picture caption: Shopping, man-style – no fuss, no crowds and bargains to be had online.