E-commerce thrives in UK

Despite lingering fears of fraud, UK shoppers are going online and spending is increasing

E-commerce is thriving in the UK, with one third of the Internet population happily buying online. That's according to the CommerceNet/Nielsen Internet and E-commerce Survey, which found that 27 percent of UK adults were at ease when buying online, with many more using the Web for product and price comparisons.

The survey found that online shoppers in the UK were reasonable spenders, with half spending over £100 in the last six months, and loyal shoppers, with 70 percent of the survey's 4,700 respondents being repeat shoppers. As well as purchasing online, the UK is making extensive use of the Web to research their shopping forays, with 49 percent of respondents using it to check out products and compare prices.

Unsuprisingly, the most common items bought online were books (41 percent) and CDs (29 percent).

One of the most common reasons for not buying online was concern over security, with 39 percent saying that they did not trust online payment systems. Echoing research published last week , two thirds of UK Web users said that they did not feel informed about how their personal information was being protected online.

According to Paul Bessant, member services manager at CommerceNet, although "the UK has learned from the US, with some of the bugs having been ironed out," concern over security issues still remained more of an issue for UK users than those in the US. In America consumers had "got over these worries", and were now primarily concerned with customer service issues.

However, another new survey has found that up to 25 percent of Internet transactions may be fraudulent.

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