A few weeks ago, we commissioned an international piece of consumer research looking at online shopping habits across both the UK and Spain and the results are back in with some interesting findings! In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at some of the conclusions for the UK.

The study highlighted eCommerce’s continued charge on the high street as over half of UK consumers (51%) admit they now prefer to shop online rather than in-store. 55% also said that they are shopping more online this year compared to 2017. This is perhaps not so surprising among younger generations given the meteoric rise in eCommerce over recent years and the decline of our high streets but it’s interesting to see this now affecting all generations. The regular consumer shops online on average six times per month, with 25-34 year olds the most active, shopping on a retailer’s website eight times a month. The study also showed similarities between the sexes with 27% of men and 25% of women shopping online once a week.

Londoners were the most active online shoppers in England, indulging in eCommerce retail therapy on average seven days per month. We also delved into the psychology of shoppers and the opportunity presented to brands to capitalise on consumers through their website experience. When asked separately how often the following statements applied to them when visiting a website, only 13% of consumers know exactly what product they want to buy every time they visit an eCommerce website with 42% saying they do only some of the time.

Almost two thirds of shoppers (65%) like to have a browse or general look around every time or a lot of the time they shop, and online stores are also increasingly becoming a source for shopping inspiration. A third of all consumers (33%) look for brands to suggest product options or give tips about the latest trends every time or a lot of the time they visit a site. This may explain why 2 in 5 people (43%) said they were more likely to make an unexpected purchase online than in-store.

The research also revealed that after the cost of the product (58%), free delivery and return options (57%), the search function (29%) was the third most important aspect for consumers when choosing to shop on one website over another.

61% of consumers use the search option every time or a lot of the time when shopping online, with the research also finding that the quality of a website’s search function directly affects the number of sales. In fact, 63% of consumers said they are less likely to make a purchase if the site search isn’t good and they can’t find what they’re looking for.

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, we’re definitely seeing a trend with the search function becoming more and more important, and not just as a tool to find something specific but also as a means of inspiration.

Moments of joy in digital are real. They can be achieved when we’re pleasantly surprised by something that fulfils our goals, whether that’s something we’re actively looking for or not. The search box helps to create those rich interactions, enabling brands to engage with consumers, and deliver a more enjoyable and meaningful experience that leaves a lasting impression. As we see more and more consumers going online, and more frequently, this presents a great opportunity for eCommerce retailers but it also means more than ever they need to get the digital experience right.

Creating more memorable online experiences not only generates sales, it creates emotion, brand connection and loyalty. It’s no longer enough to offer great products or have the coolest store. It helps, yes, but in the end, it all comes back to emotions, to making people feel unique and special. Smart retailers are thinking more and more about people, relationships and creating memorable and joyful digital experiences.

Here you can see the full study including also the results for Spain.