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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Web shoppers are big spenders
Brighton beach huts PA
More shoppers are booking and buying holdiays online
By BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward

Swedes are emerging as the keenest net shoppers.

A survey of the habits of consumers has found that Sweden has the biggest proportion of people who buy gifts, groceries, CDs and holidays online.

The research found that the most dedicated net shoppers were forcing a change in the way that companies used websites, and how they treated their customers.

But it also revealed that net shoppers were a big-spending minority. In many countries, most people do not use the web to shop and have no intention of doing so.

Shopping segments

Research organisation Datamonitor has released details of its third annual Impact survey, which looks at attitudes towards and use of the net and e-commerce in the US and six European countries.

The survey found that consumers could be categorised as one of five groups of net shoppers:

  • Resistors
  • Agnostics
  • Phantoms
  • Moderates
  • Internet Globetrotters
The Resistors make up the biggest group. They comprise the 50% of consumers who do not use the net, and have no plans to go online or do any of their shopping via the web.

Agnostics are the 9% of consumers who go online regularly but do everything but shop in cyberspace. Phantoms, 27% of consumers with net access, do their research online but use what they find out to get better bargains on the high street.

Shopping service

The final two categories, Moderates and Internet Globetrotters, make up only 14% of online shoppers but account for the vast majority of the $16.4 billion (11.58 billion) spent online over the last year. Datamonitor found these shoppers tend to buy their holidays, gifts, food, cosmetics and toiletries, CDs and books online.

Sweden has the biggest number of Moderates and Internet Globetrotters, 26%, followed by the UK with 21%, Germany with 19% and France, Italy and Spain with 9% of shoppers falling into these categories.

The Datamonitor research found that the keenest shoppers were becoming far more discriminating and demanding much more from online shops. These consumers are not happy to have only one way, such as the web, to reach the firms they are buying from.

They want the opportunity to phone a shop, pop into a high street branch or make enquiries by e-mail rather than be restricted. Datamonitor warns that companies who do not adopt such diverse approaches will never reap all the potential benefits from e-commerce.

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