85% of UK shoppers had poor experiences with online retailers in 2023

85% of UK shoppers had poor experiences with online retailers in 2023 Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

Amid a proliferation of purchasing options and budget concerns surrounding sustained inflationary pressures, online retailers are struggling to meet rising consumer expectations around the globe.

This is according to an independent survey from Celigo, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for business and IT users. 

Its 2024 Online Retail Trends Report surveyed more than 1,500 US and UK consumers about their recent online shopping experiences, as well as preferences, habits and purchasing plans for 2024. 85% of UK shoppers surveyed said that online retailers failed to meet their expectations at least once in the past year, citing increased pricing, late deliveries and excessive shipping costs as their primary frustrations. Just as concerning for retailers, inflation and higher prices remain the number one concern for consumers, with almost half (44%) of UK respondents planning to shop less online because they need to tighten their budgets. 

Mark Simon, VP of Strategy at Celigo, said: “Shoppers expect more from online retailers, demanding free guaranteed on-time shipping and deeper price deals and discounts – or else they will purchase elsewhere. 

“To fulfil these raised expectations, online retailers must improve e-commerce operations, back-office integration and omnichannel selling strategies well before the Holiday 2024 season begins.”

As outlined in the report, there was a significant difference in online shopping sentiment across generations. While one-third of Baby Boomers reported flawless online shopping experiences in 2023, Gen Z, which will hold more than a quarter of global income by 2030 and emerge as the most dominant shopping demographic, reported the greatest dissatisfaction with online shopping.

Other key findings of the report include:

Consumers are frustrated with aspects of online shopping – especially generation Z.

Younger shoppers reported higher rates of dissatisfaction with online shopping. 52% of Baby Boomers said online retailers were flawless in delivering on their expectations in the past year, while 85% of Gen Z said retailers failed them at least once in the last year.  Interestingly enough, 34% of Baby Boomers said they buy their products in physical retail stores compared to 8% of Gen Z. However, retailers must account for the needs and perceptions of the demographic that will drive sales for the years to come.

Product reviews emerge as the most important factor in the buying decision.

While survey respondents use various tools to inform online purchasing decisions, product reviews continue to trump all else, with reviews on the retailer’s website outweighing third-party review sites. 60% of consumers rely heavily on product reviews found on retailers’ websites when making their final purchasing decision, while 41% turn to third-party review sites. Discerning shoppers are scouring the internet for the best deals and products, with 35% saying they research multiple retailers and more than 20% turning to marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay to compare pricing options.

For 43% of Gen Z shoppers, TikTok is the primary source of insights.

While every demographic spends time researching the best product and personalised deal opportunity before making their purchase, the shift from traditional methods is well underway. While U.K. Baby Boomers and Gen X conduct their research primarily on search engines, marketplaces, and in physical stores, Millennials and Gen Z seek out information on social media in much greater numbers. 93% of U.K. Gen Z respondents said they research products on social media, including 43% turning to TikTok as their primary means of insight. 75% of Millennials leverage search engines for product information, but 62% open their preferred social media app before using Google or a marketplace. 

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