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Are you a "combo"? Or do you sniff, graze, ping or strike when you shop online?

The Internet has forever changed the way we shop. It has increased the speed and ease of buying products and provided the consumer with a global library of information, real variety and choice. Being able to shop online is no longer the challenge as demonstrated this week, when UK online shoppers broke all previous records by reportedly spending £767,500 in just 60 seconds at 1.09pm on Monday. Meeting the needs of all online shopper-types, is.

According to Comet (, the UK’s leading electrical retailer, to succeed as an etailer during peak shopping periods, the challenge is being able to cater for the demands of all shopper types. This means delivering products and services to the people who need them in the way they want them, when they want them.

The verdict of a recent survey Comet conducted involving 2243 of its online customers, is that different types of web shoppers have different goals and shopping strategies, with mens’ and womens’ styles varying.

Forty-five per cent use the Internet for checking out product information “Grazer-style” and doing research before rushing in. The “Sniffers” (the bargain-hunting shoppers), representing just over 15 per cent of the total polled, use comparison shopping tools and are just looking for the lowest price. Grazers and Sniffers are both more likely to be male than female (Grazers representing 61 per cent male to 39 per cent female and Sniffers 59 per cent male to 41 per cent female).

Overall, the survey indicates that while the Internet is often the first port of call for these shoppers seeking information before they buy, it indicates that nearly 16 per cent are “Combos”; the shopping elite who use the Internet mainly as a source of information. This group like taking the best of the new with the reassurance of the traditional and do enjoy the offline shopping experience too. Of this 16 per cent a “Combo” is more likely to be female than male – (53 per cent to 47 per cent respectively). Indeed, of those customers polled given the choice of all’s services nearly 44 per cent liked the “Combo” Click & Collect service best. This service enables online shoppers to order online and collect from a store 30 minutes’ later. Of those polled, women were more likely than men to favour “real” people, engineers to install and repair products, and guaranteed deliveries.

Of those polled just over 10 per cent admit to having an “SAS-approach” to online shopping, making precision strikes targeting only the areas and website they need, and then quickly logging off. They know exactly what they want before logging on and only purchase that item. SAS precision strikers are more likely to be male than female (68 per cent to 32 per cent respectively).

However, the remainder use the Internet on a “Needs Must” basis (4.5 per cent). Those shopping out of necessity, or if they are pressed for time, are more likely to be female (55 per cent) than male (45 per cent). The social “Tiddleywinkers”(nearly 2 per cent of the total polled) are enthusiastic, adventurous web users who will ping to new ideas as they are presented to them and use the Internet as a form of recreation (67 per cent female, 33 per cent male).

Commenting, Simon Rigby, Head of Direct Channels at Comet, says:

“Our challenge is to meet the needs of the greatest number of shoppers. By undertaking research on a regular basis, we learn more about our customers’ shopping needs and styles. This helps us to deliver all the necessary reassurances, product ranges and services.

“We conducted this survey during our peak selling period as we are in the process of developing our range of online interactive services, such as Live Chat and ( Powerful multi media sales tools will soon become standard in the online shopping arena. In three years, you'll be just as likely to click and watch a product related video of your intended purchase on your computer before you buy - as you are to have an email address today.”


For further information please contact:

Karen Alden
Comet Press Office
Tel: +44 (0)1923 714556
Pauline Christie
Tel: +44 (0)20 7917 6804

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