online 2Fastlane International reveals the results of its poll of polls

During the last year a number of polls have asked which consumers prefer: shopping online or in store. The results for these questionnaires have often been flatly contradictory. Now pioneering e-commerce specialists Fastlane International couriers has reviewed all the data and revealed in its ‘poll of polls’ that consumers really do prefer buying online than on the high street. But it was a tight result!

Fastlane International looked at the nine key consumer polls conducted in the last 12 months, and the result was, taking into account the number of people polled and differences in how questions are phrased, that consumers prefer to buy non-necessity purchases from websites.

Fastlane International’s Head of Public Relations, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘The move to online shopping has been relentless in the last few years, but now it really does seem that we have reached a significant tipping point and we now know more people prefer to shop online than in the high street.’

‘We have looked at research from significant industry researchers and retailers, from PwC and AT Kearney to UPS, Wipro Digital and the Office for National Statistics. Some 15,000 people have been surveyed in these reports, across both the UK and USA; and while some found consumers had yet to make the switch to online, almost all polls found that the gap was closing between online and offline, compared to previous research.’ continued David.

Says David: ‘It has been an interesting challenge comparing the different polls, not all of which are asking exactly the same questions. It is rather like comparing apples with pears at times. However what is clear is the general move to online shopping is not slowing down. Consumers who are already internet shoppers in particular expressed a high preference for making ever more of their purchases and product research online.’

In the pro-online camp a Conlumino study for Webloyalty this year found 87% now conduct their shopping online. In a December 2014 poll Online retailer SafeHome products found 89% of respondants prefer to shop online, with 96% saying it is more convenient than a store. According to research by Wipro Digital in January 2015 , 71% of consumers in the UK and 61% in the US report doing more than half of their 2014 holiday shopping online – up from 2013, when only 45% of UK and 36% of US shoppers were mostly online. UPS’ 2014 survey, Pulse of the Online Shopper, revealed 55% of consumers prefer to buy online, and a survey by RedShift for Bloom Reach in 2014 revealed 59% of consumers believe that online experiences are more unique to their needs.

Those surveys finding for brick and mortar stores included PwC, which found 40% of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to just 27% online. AT Kearney’s Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study found the overall majority of all US retail sales still happen in stores. 1010data found 52% of respondents prefer in-store shopping to online because of their unwillingness to wait for shipping. However even here 41% wanted to compare store with online prices. Finally an eZonomics survey into clothes-buying found 45% of respondents preferred in-store clothes shopping, with 23% saying they prefer online. However a critical 32% said ‘it depends’, illustrating the increasingly flexible attitude people have in the era of multichannel.

Concludes David: ‘There are famously lies, damn lies, and statistics! However on balance it is clear that those consumers who use the internet already are increasingly likely to make it their preferred choice. Our “poll of polls” revealed that, for everyday necessity items, such as food and medicines, the shop is still the default option, but the internet is increasingly the preferred choice for gifts, electrical and hobby items. A billion parcels are expected to be shipped in the UK alone this year thanks to the boom in e-commerce, and Fastlane expects this trend to continue exponentially.’


By Alison