British consumers are around twice as likely to shop online as their French and German counterparts, according to new research.
Commissioned by delivery specialist Hermes, the 2014 Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey polled 2,000 UK consumers and 1,000 each in France and Germany aged 18 and upwards who had shopped online three or more times in the past three months.
Around 27% of British consumers said they had shopped online in that time, compared with 14% of the French and 10% of the Germans.
Conducted by market research firm BDRC Continental between May and June, the survey also found 42% of British shoppers are planning to increase their online shopping over the next year, compared with 30% in France and 28% in Germany.
Clothing was the most popular product to be bought online in the UK over the past six months at 81%. In Britain, 83% of shoppers buy from foreign retailers. The top five purchase destinations were the US (47%), China (28%), Germany (15%), France (9%) and Hong Kong (6%).
UK consumers are more likely to own a tablet (59%) or smartphone (78%), meaning they use these devices more regularly for online shopping (23%) than in Germany (11%) and France (9%). However, laptops are still the preferred way to shop online (48%) in the UK, with many consumers browsing on their smartphone or tablet prior to purchase.
Web chat is also emerging as a preferred way of contacting retailers with customer service issues, up 3% in the UK during the period in question.
“The research shows that the online shopping industry continues to grow at a prolific pace and consumer confidence has rocketed. I am pleased to see investment in good delivery options has played a key role in this,” said Carole Woodhead, chief executive of Hermes.
To cope with peak Christmas trading, Hermes has added 20% more capacity to its delivery services compared with the same period last year. Hermes expects its next phase of expansion to take place between January and September 2015, with a view to increasing capacity by 450,000 parcels for Christmas 2015.
In the first quarter of 2015, Hermes is also planning to launch ETA Window, a service which gives the customer a one-to-two-hour estimated time of arrival for their package, as well as the ability to divert the delivery route in transit. Hermes is looking to add both services to its standard delivery and next-day options.