Internet shopping, what stops some customers from buying online?

Internet shopping, what stops some customers from buying online?

Although Online Shopping or internet shopping is Popular, Some UK Consumers are still uncomfortable Shopping Online

It cannot be denied that the online shopping trends and consumer trends have grown a lot as of late.  9% of UK retail sales occur online.  But while certain types of products continue to be popular, others are not so popular at all. 

As many as half of consumers in the UK have never purchased items like health products, beauty products, furniture, or groceries online, and a significant number report that they have no plans to buy those items in the future either.  By using the results of this study, business owners can plan and strategize the best items to offer up for sale online.

Which Items Are The Least Popular?

YouGov partnered with to poll over 2,015 British adults about their sentiments and experiences with online shopping.  Some of the products on the poll were extremely unpopular.  Here are some of the least popular products, in ascending order.  Of the consumers polled:

  • 26% never purchased Holiday Travel online,
  • 29% never purchased Electronics online,
  • 44% never purchased Health & Beauty products online, 
  • 49% never purchased food online, and
  • 50% never purchased Furniture online. 

The study also asked consumers what items they have no intention of ever purchasing online.  Most respondents (28%) reported that they would never purchase groceries online in the future and that they would much rather go to a market, supermarket or local store to purchase their food.  A close runner up was furniture, with a lot of consumers (26%) reporting that they had no intention of purchasing furniture on the internet in the future.

Conversely, many respondents indicated that they would consider buying entertainment items like music CDs or DVDs online, with only 5% stating they would never do so in the future.  Only 12% of the consumers polled reported that they would never consider purchasing travel tickets via the internet.

Barriers to Online Purchasing

This same study also asked the respondents what they perceived to be the most substantial barriers keeping them from purchasing more items online.  40% expressed that they were tactile individuals, who preferred to see the item in person before buying it.  33% reported that they felt that online descriptions of items were not detailed enough to definitively persuade them to purchase the item.  We have series of videos on stimulating the senses in our members area.

Delivery costs and scheduling delivery times were also stated barriers.  25% of the respondents said they didn’t enjoy the difficulty of scheduling delivery, and thus did not buy items online.  15% said that slow deliveries were the reason they avoid online purchasing.  30% reported that the idea of leaving their house to mail back returns was also a big reason that many consumers stated was keeping them from shopping online.  

Ratings and Reviews

This study is yet another piece of evidence that word-of-mouth marketing is highly important, and that the reviews, opinions, and ratings left by customers online, are extremely important for any brand.  Online reputation management is vitally important for businesses that wish to maintain a strong a positive presence on the internet.  Managing your reviews, introducing incentives for customers to leave them can play a big role here.

A whopping 73% of the consumers polled said that they would prefer instant access to reviews and ratings when shopping for items online.  More importantly, consumers are more likely to rely on the opinions of fellow consumers than they are of industry experts or journalists, with only 39% stating that they would prefer instant access to this type of review or rating.  We know that testimonials are a strong psychological driver for customers.  Perhaps stories of customers who were also nervous about online shopping, could reassure some customers to take the plunge.

The survey concluded by asking consumers about what types of technology would be more useful to them while shopping online.  40% wished for a 360 degree angle viewer for the products, and 39% said they’d like to receive samples of various products like fabrics and cosmetics for free before deciding to purchase them.


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Written by

Corin Birchall is a Retail Sales & Marketing Consultant and founder of “Kerching Retail - helping to make your till ring”. His consultancy works throughout the UK and Europe. Corin is an active writer, coach and public speaker, helping to develop and grow a wide range of businesses & business leaders from Leisure and Retail sectors

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