UK shoppers embrace online more than the Dutch

20 April 2015 3 min. read
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UK consumers are much more inclined to shop online compared to their Dutch counterparts across the North Sea, finds recent joint research from PwC and Strategy&, in which the behaviour of 2,000 British and 1,000 Dutch consumers is compared.

In the Netherlands 29% of the questioned consumers do the largest part of their shopping online. In the United Kingdom however this is nearly twice as many (56%). The British are also more likely to search online for products, and in 57% of British purchases, research into the product was initially done online. In the Netherlands the percentage (38%) falls considerably lower.

Where do you tend to shop

According to PwC and Strategy&, British retailers are more advanced than their Dutch colleagues, and with services like ‘click-and-collect’ are able to offer more sales channels. “In the Netherlands it is much less common to buy products online than in the United Kingdom”, comments Marc Diepstraten, partner and retail specialist at PwC. “The difference between the two countries is closely related to logistics. British retailers are better organised. Particularly in the areas of delivery times and delivery options. In Britain it is more common for products to arrive the same day as they were purchased, at a place of choosing.”

The difference in consumer shopping behaviour was highlighted again during the Christmas period. In the Netherlands 87% of online Christmas purchases were delivered to homes, while in the UK this was barely 14%. In the UK the majority of British consumers choose to have their products delivered to an alternative location, such as their work address, or to pick up their products themselves from the local store. Which illustrates the strong and inseparable relationship between the online and offline shopping experience in the UK, known as ‘omni-channel’.

Where is the majority of your shopping delivered?

Physical stores
Nearly three quarters (72%) of Dutch consumers indicate that the physical store is their preferred purchasing medium. The preference is driven primarily because physical stores offer the possibility of handling the products directly (27%) and to take it home directly (17%). Furthermore 15% just prefer the experience of shopping. In the UK this was 26%, 19% and 14% respectively for the top three reasons to prefer shopping in physical stores.

What are the main reasons for purchasing a product in the store

In earlier research from PwC it was found that consumers are particularly interested in buying furniture, clothing and daily shopping in physical stores. For electronic and household devices and furniture, a clever multi-channel approach could potentially lead to improved figures physical store purchases. Research in store and purchase online is largely suitable for clothing purchases.