New research from Hermes points to an exciting future for the UK’s online retailers as UK shoppers spend online with improved delivery, Mark Pettit explains.

There’s a fantastic quote from Bill Gates who said: “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.”

For the last five years Hermes has conducted industry research in order to identify the latest trends in online shopping and home delivery. The survey not only provides a valuable insight for our customers, but also helps us to develop our portfolio of services to satisfy the needs of the ever-demanding customer.

This year’s Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey contained responses from 2,000 UK consumers and 1,000 responses each from both France and Germany, allowing us to draw comparisons across the three countries.

As a result, we can reveal that British consumers are taking the lead across Europe and spending substantially more online than those in France and Germany. Our research shows us that twice as many Brits, 27%, have shopped online during the last three months than the French, 14%, and nearly three times more than the Germans, 10%.

The research suggests that retailers are now in a position to profit from soaring confidence in online shopping with 42% of British consumers planning to shop online even more over the next year, compared to 30% of French and 28% of Germans.

Shoppers are also expanding their horizons with 73% of Brits stating they are increasing the number of retailers they shop from, again ahead of the French, 64%, and Germans, 58%.

The survey showed that a key factor behind this growth is the improvement in delivery services across the three countries. Around three quarters of consumers across all markets stated that the delivery services being used by retailers are improving all the time.

The study also revealed that retailers should be placing more emphasis on their multi-channel offerings. More than twice as many Brits are now buying regularly via smartphones and tablets, 23%, compared to Germany ,11%, and France at 9%.

In addition, around 84% of UK and France-based shoppers have ordered from a foreign retailer’s website compared to just 67% of the German population.

Meanwhile, the results show that online retailers in the UK are doing a fantastic job attracting buyers from abroad. Well over a third of German and French shoppers have bought from the UK, with the country beating China and the USA to top the poll.

A free and reliable returns service is what consumers across all three countries want as it was deemed by far the “most appealing feature”when it came to delivery services (around 25%). Interestingly nearly half of Brits, 44%, blamed retailers for the high levels of returns stating that if the product information was clearer online they would not need to return as many items as they do.

The research shows that the online shopping industry continues to grow at a prolific pace and consumer confidence has rocketed and I am pleased to see that investment in good delivery options has played a key role in this. It presents online retailers with a huge opportunity to continue to expand their customer base and increase revenue.

  • Mark Pettit, Sales & Marketing Director, Hermes