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One in Six Online UK Retail Visits Ends in a Purchase
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One in Six Online UK Retail Visits Ends in a Purchase

A version of this article first appear in New Media Age.

Matthew Dodd, Senior VP of Research and analytics EMEA

E-commerce in the U.K. is booming. More than eight out of 10 of the active online population – 31.6 million people – visited at least one of the U.K.’s top 200 e-commerce sites in August 2010, according to Nielsen’s latest E-commerce Landscape Report.

What’s more, 16 percent of shopping visits ended in a purchase, with 89 million transactions resulting from the month’s 546 million shopping visits.

Conversion rates for the top 200 e-commerce sites showed strong performances – all above 15 percent – from Domino’s Pizza, Amazon, Interflora and QVC. Cut by category, we found decent conversion rates for ‘catalogue-clothing’ sites – Next, Freemans, Kaleidoscope and Bon Prix – all between 9-15 percent; whereas supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer – grouped somewhat lower.

When it comes to spending, the most lucrative e-commerce category is electronic equipment. On average, respondents from our sample of 8,500 Britons spent more on electronic goods – £156 each – than on any other category in August. Amazon, visited by 36% of people shopping for electronic equipment, was the leading retailer in the category. FMCG shopping was the next-biggest spending category, with people purchasing an average £129 of groceries online in the month.

Around a quarter of the U.K.’s 50 most-popular sites are e-commerce sites – a ratio that has been maintained for the last three years. The most popular is eBay, with 17.7m unique U.K. visitors in August, putting it ahead of Amazon, Apple, Tesco and Argos.

Finally, looking at attitudes, the main reason for shopping online was ‘cheaper prices,’, given by 57 percent of respondents, and the ‘ability to shop at any time’ (32%), but an uncompromising 29 percent said ‘not having to deal with sales staff’ was one of their three biggest motivators.

Average Online Shopper Spend by Category