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October 2nd 2008

BRITONS CLICK ONTO ONLINE SHOPPING EXCELLENCE

• Online shopping more popular in UK than US
• Online customer service rated better than high street
• Credit crunch driving shoppers online for bargains
• One third will do most of their Christmas shopping online this year
• Key regional variations in online shopping behaviour

More than 11 million Britons are now shopping online at least twice a week, new research suggests1, with clothing, books, CDs and DVDs among our favourite items, while more than 1.3 million of us are logging on every day to purchase goods and services.
The nationwide study of Britain’s online shopping habits by leading price comparison site Shopzilla.co.uk also shows that the British love affair with online shopping now even outstrips that of the US with around nine out of 10 of us shopping online at least once a month compared with around seven out of 10 Americans.

The poll of more than 3,000 Brits shows that being able to shop any time of the day or night, price and convenience are the biggest motivations for shopping online.

And people are enjoying their online shopping experience much more than scouring the high street. When scoring satisfaction from one to 10, 79% of shoppers give the online experience eight out of 10 or above, compared to just 27% for high street stores. Satisfaction with the customer service offered by online retailers is also significantly higher – 55% of shoppers give internet stores eight out of 10 or better compared with only 28% for their bricks and mortar counterparts.

The study – commissioned to launch Shopzilla.co.uk’s first ever UK Circle of Excellence Awards, which will recognise the UK’s best online retailers as voted for by consumers2 – also suggests that Britons are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their online shopping habits with most of us willing to spend time surfing around for the best deals and services. More than 39% of those surveyed said they usually or always use price comparison sites to find goods, while 53% reckoned feedback on retailers from other consumers was influential (eight out of 10 score or above) in the final decision to purchase.

More than seven out of 10 Britons think the experience of shopping online is now ‘much better’ than it was five years ago and that advances in online security give shoppers peace of mind.

However, it seems many of us are still not ready to buy certain goods online. More than half (54.7%) would still not consider buying a car online, while musical instruments and food and drink are still no go areas for three out of 10 and two out of 10 consumers respectively.

Meanwhile, the credit crunch looks set to trigger an even bigger stampede towards online shopping. More than half of shoppers polled said they were now more likely to hunt for a range of items online in a bid to save money. Clothing, entertainment products (CDs, DVDs etc.), electrical items, health and beauty products and items for the house and garden were among the favourite items for purchase online during these times of economic uncertainty.

It also appears we will be looking to save money by shopping online this Christmas. A third of those polled said they were planning to do most of their present shopping online this year, while a further third plan to make around half of their purchases online. Of those polled, one in four said they had already started their Christmas shopping and the same number plan to start before the end of October.
Scott Macon, Managing Director for Shopzilla Europe, said: “This survey shows that Britons are among the world’s keenest online shoppers and that they are becoming more and more sophisticated. While price and convenience are still key motivators for shopping online, people also want to know more about the online retailers they are purchasing from.

“Web shoppers in the UK are savvy and although this research shows they are enjoying the online shopping experience, it is clear they will not put up with poor website performance and after-sales service.

“That is why we want to reward those retailers committed to providing service excellence through our first our first UK Circle of Excellence Awards on October 9th2.”

KEY FINDINGS:

What do you mostly buy online?

Entertainment (books, music, DVDs, CDs etc.) 68.4%
Apparel (clothes, shoes, jewellery etc.) 50.3%
Electronics (digital cameras, TVS, DVD players etc.) 45.8%
Computer Hardware 34.3%
Computer Software 32.4%
Office Supplies 32.4%
Health & Beauty products 31.1%
Food & Drink 29.7%
Toys & Video Games 29.1%
Gifts & Flowers 26.4%

What would you still not buy online?

Automotive (cars, vans, motorcycles etc.) 54.7%
Musical instruments 29.2%
Food & Drink 21.9%
Pet Supplies (pet food, pet toys, pet furniture etc.) 21.8%
Apparel (clothes, shoes, jewellery etc.) 18.6%

What do you like about shopping online?

Being able to shop 24/7 62.4%
Ease and convenience of shopping from home/office 61.1%
Price 59.8%
Speed/save time 50.8%
Ability to compare prices easily 43.8%

KEY REGIONAL FINDINGS:

- NORTHERN IRISH and SCOTS are the most avid online shoppers – almost one out of three people from Northern Ireland shop online either every day or up to three times a week, as do one in four Scots

- Residents in YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE are the biggest bargain hunters – nearly half use a price comparison site either always or near always when shopping online

- Entertainment lovers from the NORTH WEST buy the most books, CDs and DVDs online

- SOUTH EASTERNERS are most likely to take advantage of being able to shop online 24/7 (seven out of 10)

- Online shoppers from the MIDLANDS and NORTHERN IRELAND value feedback on retailers from other users most – and are the most avid retailer reviewers

- NORTH EASTERNERS are the earliest Christmas shoppers – two out of five have already started

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors:

1. A total of 3,118 people took part in the UK-wide online, population representative survey. 19.9% of Britons shop at least twice a week online, while 2.2% shop every day. A further 1,704 people were polled in the US.

2. The inaugural UK Shopzilla Circle of Excellence Awards will take place at a special ceremony in London on Thursday October 9th and will recognise the very best online retailers for customer satisfaction, as judged by online consumers.

About Shopzilla:

Shopzilla.co.uk is part of Shopzilla Inc. Shopzilla.com is the largest, easiest-to-use and most comprehensive shopping search site on the Web. With an index of millions of products from thousands of stores, Shopzilla empowers shoppers to instantly find virtually anything on sale from anyone, anywhere on the Web - at the best price for their lifestyle. Shopzilla also operates the BizRate research division and consumer feedback network that collects more than one million consumer reviews of stores and products each month. Based in London and Los Angeles, Shopzilla has sites in the United Kingdom, France and Germany and the company is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. (NYSE: SNI), which include national lifestyle TV networks such as HGTV, The Food Network, Fine Living and more. For more information, please visit www.shopzilla.com.

For further information:

Simon Mowbray/Rob Metcalfe/Dan Fossaceco
Richmond Towers Communications
Tel: 020 7388 7421
Email: simon@rt-com.com or rob@rt-com.com

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