Consumers refuse to let hackers win

Online shopping trebles with prices the main gripe

UK consumers have not been put off shopping on the Net despite the recent spate of hacking as the latest e-commerce survey finds spending in the UK trebled in 1999.

The study -- conducted by business advisors Ernst & Young -- found 10 percent of UK households bought products online. As surfers become more confident about Net transactions, the price of goods is overtaking security as the most important factor when making purchases.

This is illustrated by the success of QXL, which the survey found to be second favourite site for UK shoppers, beaten only by Amazon. While supermarkets rush to make their groceries available online, stores like Tesco and Sainsburys remain far down the list, mainly because few have yet to offer nationwide facilities.

People are also still concerned about quality of service, with worries about high shipping costs, the importance of personal sizing and worries about non-delivery all cited as barriers to buying. For e-tailers, the biggest challenge is how to "augment their brand and position", according to Ernst & Young researcher Ted Yates.

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