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Analysis

Who are the most impulsive online shoppers in the UK?

The debate rages on as to whether the high street is finished or not, but the exponential rise of online shopping cannot be questioned. The ease in which you can locate an item and have it delivered to your door the next day has meant more and more people now do their shopping online.

A once distrusted service is now seen as the norm. What’s more, as technology becomes increasingly advanced, we now have AI guiding us around websites, helping us find products simply by speaking to our phones.

Due to the fact we can’t physically see an item before we buy it there’s a lot of indecision when it comes to online shopping, for example it lacks the added benefit of being able to try a garment on in the changing rooms before we buy it. We all want to be sure of something before we spend our hard-earned money, particularly if it’s a lump sum, and this can lead people to revisiting a product page over and over before making that final commitment to purchase.

Some of us are far more decisive than others when it comes to online shopping, and research done by digital marketing agency Search Laboratory has revealed who among us finds making that final decision easy, and who sees it as a struggle.

Most decisive cities

The research was done using Google Analytics data from five businesses across different industries and looked at the days that passed between customers first visiting a product page and then when they finally made the decision to buy the product.

Results threw up a huge range, with some buying then and there, and others taking up to 157 days to buy the product. The customer journey is incredibly important to businesses, because you can have a huge amount of website traffic, but if no one is buying your product then it’s ultimately irrelevant. This research shows just how different the customer journey can be.

The results are split across major cities in the UK and show the percentage of customers from these cities that buy a product the same day as visiting the website, leading to a ranking of the top 10 cities for one-click purchasers.

The UKs most impulsive shoppers come from Manchester with 74% of shoppers buying on the same day. Glasgow (73%) and Bristol (72.9%) complete the top three. There isn’t a lot separating Edinburgh in fourth (72%) and Liverpool (68.7%) in tenth, completing the ranking. The capital falls some way behind the top ten, with just 61% of shoppers making a same day purchase. You can see the full top 10 below:

Split when it comes to industry

The research also compared five different industries to see if there was significant change when it came to comparing industry and the decisiveness of its shoppers. Once again, the results compare the percentage of people making same day purchases and provided some considerable differences.

Sporting goods come out on top, with 77.3% of customers buying on the same day. It’s likely that when shopping for the likes of training gear and football boots, that you have a very specific idea of what you’re looking for. This could also be why footwear (75.8%) and home furnishings (75%) aren’t far behind, yet it’s a big drop down to women’s fashion (60.8%) in fourth. A lot of shopping for women’s fashion could be general browsing, and with such a range to choose from and no access to the product and some changing rooms, it’s no surprise women’s fashion causes indecisiveness.

The lowest on the list, however, is travel (50.4%). Booking a holiday is very rarely an impulse decision, normally it takes a lot of planning and is an expensive outgoing. Explaining why just half of customers pay on the same day. <

Something to consider for businesses

The research highlights just how indecisive customers can be before they buy something, and with the e-commerce market becoming increasingly competitive, its vital businesses get their customer journey absolutely right. There is more opportunity to make money online than ever before, so making an investment in increasing conversion could be a smart move for companies looking to establish themselves online.


 Sam Cropper is a content creator for Search Laboratory, he specializes in e-commerce and digital marketing.

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