UK is Nation of Online Shoppers as Web Spending Jumps 16%

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By Alistair Charlton | December 12, 2013 10:10 PM EST

The UK is a nation of online shoppers, spending almost 10 times as much as the Italians and 35% more than second place Australia.

Trust in postal service and security of websites like Amazon put UK shoppers top of the charts. (Reuters)

Research conducted by the telecom and media regulator Ofcom found the average Briton spent £1,175 online in 2012, up 16% from the previous year and more than £300 more than the average Australian; Italians spent just £126 throughout the year, while the average Spaniard spent £180 online.

Looking into why Britons spend more online, Ofcom found it is because we trust online retailers more than shoppers in any other country and have greater confidence in the security of the sites we buy from.

The regulator found 83% of Britons trust online retailers to send the correct item, compared to just 64% of Japanese shoppers and 68% of Italians.

A similar figure of eight-in-10 British shoppers trust the way products are advertised online, saying they believed advertisements to be accurate - this compares to just 48% of Japanese consumers having confidence in the way products are advertised online.

Trust

Confidence among Europeans is also lacking when it comes to online goods being delivered successfully. Two thirds of Britons are confident goods will arrive, while just 50% and 46% of Spanish and Italian consumers respectively trust their postal service to work.

More than half of Italian and Spanish consumers (52% and 53% respectively) cite expensive delivery charges as a reason for not shopping online - a fear shared by 40% of Britons.

The Germans have the most confidence in their postal system, with just 16% indicating a lack of confidence in online purchases arriving.

Britons' phone contracts significantly cheaper

Ofcom's survey also looked at the cost of digital services like mobile phone contracts, internet connections and television providers, and how they vary around the world.

The UK was consistently cheaper than every other country recorded, with mobile phone deals being "significantly cheaper" than any other major European country, and almost three times less expensive than comparable US services.

Ofcom claims a basic package of just 200 minutes, 50 texts and 200MB of data costs on average £14 per month in the UK, compared t £57 in the US.

Having taken an average across eight mobile phone deals, Ofcom found UK prices fell 23% during last year.

James Thickett, Ofcom's Director of Research, said: "The report confirms that consumers in the UK are benefiting from one of the world's most price competitive marketplaces for communications services.

"Telecoms bills have been falling in real terms in the UK for the past ten years. However, consumers are not just benefiting from cheaper deals - they are also getting much more for less, as the quality and range of telecoms services has expanded hugely in that time."

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