'

E-shoppers put faith in high street names

Many consumers are much happier doing their online shopping at the site of a reliable household name retailer, rather than a relatively unknown dot-com, research claims

Traditional high street retailers will take a big slice of this Christmas's Internet shopping bonanza, according to the results of a survey from Directline.com.

The online insurer found that UK consumers are much more likely to buy from the Web site of a "household name" retailer rather than an e-commerce site without a physical presence in the shopping centre -- even if they knew and trusted it. Few customers said they were prepared to shop at an online retailer with little brand recognition, even if they were part of an online shopping standard.

"The results of this survey strongly reflect that consumers continue to need brand reassurance when making a purchase online," said Richard Coombe, head of e-commerce at Direct Line.

Of those surveyed, 61 percent said they would rather do their Internet shopping at an offline brand that they knew and trusted, versus 31 percent who said they'd buy from an company that only operates online if they had a well known and trusted brand. E-tailers such as Amazon and Lastminute.com might well fall into this category.

Just 20 percent of people interviewed said they'd be prepared to shop at an online retailer that they knew little or nothing about if it was affiliated with an online kite mark standard.

UK consumers will spend £1.3bn shopping online this Christmas, according to a recent estimate from Jupiter Research. It is somewhat ironic that high street retailers seem likely to rake in a lot of this spending, given that many of them were slow to embrace e-commerce. Of course, many of the dotcoms that rushed to market in the late 90s in the hope of cashing in on the Internet boom have now gone bust.