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Online Outstrips In-store For European Shoppers According to Research from Akamai

Akamai Technologies, Ltd. today announced the findings of its European Consumer Holiday Shopping Plans survey. The research, conducted with consumers in the UK, Sweden, Italy, Spain and France in December 2015, reveals that two-thirds of respondents intended to do their holiday shopping online, with the majority planning to undertake this activity in the month of December, and not earlier. This means that many will have counted on fast and reliable delivery in order to receive their goods in time. In addition, just over half (53%) said they were planning to make gift purchases using a mobile device. 
The survey findings also reveal the complex multi-screen, omni-channel shopping behaviours of consumers as they engage in the research and purchase stages of the shopping journey. The vast majority of respondents (87%) planned to conduct online research before making an in-store purchase, using websites to discover potential gift items, access reviews and product information, or hunt down deals, even when online was not the intended primary purchasing channel. 
While 85% of shoppers stated a preference for using a desktop or laptop computer to make online purchases, 61% said they would use their mobile devices to compare prices, read reviews or scan coupon/payment codes when in-store. A further 73% of shoppers favoured the convenience of their tablet device, with 58% going on to say it was the device they most frequently used when browsing and shopping online. 
However, despite the growing popularity of mobile devices for discovery, browsing, comparisons and reviews, when it came to online shopping, the majority of survey respondents (84%) preferred to use their desktop/laptop device, stating that retail sites were easier to navigate (57%), web pages loaded faster (38%) and offered full access to all required information (37%). 
The most popular time of day for conducting online holiday shopping was the evening, when respondents typically planned to use a desktop/laptop (65%), tablet (33%), or smartphone/mobile device (37%). 
“Today’s connected consumers are going online more frequently and demand a continuous shopping experience, transitioning with ease from one device to another depending on whether they are at home, in-store, or on-the go, and which shopping task they are undertaking at that moment in time,” said Enrique Duvos, Director, Product Marketing & Enablement EMEA, Akamai Technologies. 
“To meet today’s customers’ expectations, alongside being prepared to scale for peak traffic, these findings confirm that retailers need to ensure digital experiences are optimised for a wide variety of user endpoints, while providing improvements in key areas of the mobile shopping process, such as easier navigation and viewing, faster load times, and simpler checkout,” he continued. 
The survey also highlights the following results/data: 
• Consumers in Italy (75%), Germany (72%) and the UK (69%) were the most likely to do the majority of their holiday shopping online; 84% of UK shoppers confirmed they would conduct research online before making an in-store purchase. 
• While 48% of UK shoppers were planning to undertake their holiday shopping in December, 35% headed online in November to take advantage of cyber weekend deals. 
• UK shoppers were among the most confident in Europe when it came to making a gift purchase using a smartphone or mobile device; 55% intended to do so, compared to just 41% of shoppers in the Netherlands. 
• UK shoppers confirmed they utilise multiple devices when buying online. While the majority said they would use a desktop/laptop (86%), over one-third (35%) would be using a smartphone/mobile device (35%), or a tablet (30%); UK shoppers were more likely than other European consumers to use a tablet device when shopping online. 
• When in-store, 56% of UK shoppers said they would be using their mobile device to compare prices, read reviews or scan coupon/payment codes. 
• Top website characteristics for all shoppers when browsing and buying online included easy navigation between pages (63%), easy checkout (61%), and secure site and payment (59%). UK consumers (70%) were among the most demanding when it came to ease of checkout. 
• Frustration with slow websites put off 15% of all consumers from purchasing online, while 21% had concerns about security/data theft. 
• In contrast to Dutch (46%) and Swedish (49%) of shoppers, 54% of UK respondents felt a mobile phone was the least safe device when it came to making online purchases. 
• Security concerns were high; 69% of UK shoppers said they will check if a web page is encrypted before entering their credit card details. 
Survey Methodology 
The European Consumer Holiday Shopping Plans survey was conducted online with 3,621 consumers, with interviews being conducted with at least 500 respondents in the following countries: UK (525); the Netherlands (500); Germany (509); Sweden (543); Italy (518); Spain (514); and France (512). The sample was collected online in December 2015. The gender of respondents was 43% female; 56% male. The age groups sampled were: 18-24; 25-34; 45-54; 55-64; and 65+.