U.K. Shoppers Outspending U.S. Consumers Online

Survey Says Brits Make More Purchases and Make Them More Wisely

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- U.S. online shoppers are being "outshopped" by their U.K. counterparts, with U.K. consumers spending 40% more money and making 24% more purchases online than U.S. shoppers.
LinkShare CMO Mark Kirschner
LinkShare CMO Mark Kirschner

U.S. consumers are also behind when it comes to online shopping tactics: They are much less aggressive when hunting bargains, with U.K. consumers eight times more likely to conduct research on multiple sites before making an online purchase.

The findings come from a new Jupiter survey commissioned by LinkShare. "We were very surprised by the results," said LinkShare Chief Marketing Officer Mark Kirschner.

Frequent buyers
Among other things, the survey found U.K. consumers are also 13% more likely to be frequent online buyers (purchasing products or services more than 10 times in the last 12 months) than their U.S. peers.

"There is a lot of variety for U.K. shoppers," said Liane Dietrich, managing director of LinkShare U.K., when asked for an explanation. "There are strong players with strong value propositions and a breadth of choice of sites with cash back and discounts."

So is it that U.S. consumers are shopping offline more than online? "The mall is very well-entrenched in U.S. society," said Mr. Kirschner, though Ms. Dietrich also pointed out that "Brits walk past high-street shops every day on their way to the tube or to grab a coffee. U.K. consumers are more exposed to offline shopping than in the U.S."

Purchasing forecast
The typical U.S. online buyer is forecast to spend $755 online in 2008, making an average of 7.5 purchases online in the last 12 months. U.K. online buyers, meanwhile, are forecast to spend an average of $1,060 online in 2008, making an average of 9.3 purchases online in the last year. These forecasts have been revised down recently, although fourth-quarter U.S. online spending is still expected to be about 10% up.

"Any retailer who has an e-commerce site needs to be in multiple places online," said Mr. Kirschner. "People are doing more and more research before making purchases, so the marketing challenge is to propagate the message through different areas and to have partners who can help you do this effectively."

Overall, neither U.K. nor U.S. online consumers are yet ready to embrace their mobile phones as shopping devices. Only 10.2% of U.S. and 10.4% of U.K. consumers agreed with the statement, "I would like to be able to shop and make purchases on my mobile/cellphone."
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