Consumers feel at ease shopping online, but are they spending money on competitor websites?

Nearly half of UK shoppers now start a product search on the retailer or brand site they know they can buy it from; this compares to just 25 per cent who start a search via online marketplaces, including Amazon.

This is according to the latest Shopper Survey report from Criteo, a commerce media platform provider, which surveyed how consumers shopped in 2019 compared to the end of 2021.

Four in five UK consumers felt they had seen an improvement in both the ease of searching for a product and finding what they are looking for. As a result, almost a third (30 per cent) feel retail and brand websites are more influential than they were two years ago.

These benefits haven’t just been felt by younger, digital natives; after multiple lockdowns forced physical stores to close, the ‘grey pound’ has shifted online. Today, half of those aged over 55 are using apps at least ‘occasionally’ to make online purchases and 70 per cent will now choose to make a purchase online after seeing a product they like in-store.

Across all age groups, the number of shoppers who report using a voice-activated smart home speaker to buy products has almost doubled in the UK from 22 per cent in 2019 to 39 per cent at the end of 2021, perhaps highlighting a new arena for brands and retailers to compete with the tech giants!

Elsewhere, despite the growth in positive online reviews since 2019, it appears good experiences and brand loyalty could be less closely linked. For example, 58 per cent of consumers now make a purchase on their phone via the retailer’s website while inside their store. However, even more people report making the purchase on a different retailer’s site!

“It’s certainly in consumer interest to have diversity and choice when it comes to making purchase decisions online, and the latest findings are very optimistic in this respect,” said Ryan Cook, UK MD at Criteo.

“While the commerce environment is certainly no less competitive between retailers and brands, these emerging shopper habits provide both groups with greater opportunity to reach and address shoppers in relevant ways. As more adventurous retailers reach marketing maturity, there’s a huge opportunity to decentralise the commerce world and make it more equitable for all.”