August 1, 2008, 12:00 AM

The majority of shoppers at UK web sites are foreign, says new study

Online retailers in the UK are benefiting from the wide use of English in the online world, says a report from Pago eTransaction Services. The report says the peak period for online shopping in Germany is 8 to 10 p.m., while in the UK it’s 2 to 4 p.m.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Online retailers in the UK are benefiting from the wide use of English in the online world, says a new report from payment processor Pago eTransaction Services GmbH. 55% of sales at UK retail sites are to foreigners. By contrast, less than 5% of sales at German sites are to foreigners.

The same report, which analyzes online shopping behavior across Europe, confirms that hard-working Germans aren’t frittering away their work days at retail sites. The peak period for online shopping in Germany is 8 to 10 p.m., while in the UK it’s 2 to 4 p.m.

At UK sites, nearly a third of international customers are from countries outside Europe, especially the USA and Asia.

The 2008 Pago Report is the seventh edition of “Trends in E-commerce Purchasing and Payment Behaviour Based on Real Transactions.” It analyzes European online consumer and payment behavior, and non-payment risks and trends in e-commerce. Analysis is based on 30 million transactions processed by Cologne-based Pago from e-commerce sites.

Other data from the report:

• The most active online consumers, in order, are British, German, French and Irish.
• German online consumers make about one-third of their purchases between October and December, while UK consumers make less than 10% of their purchases during that period. The peak time for British consumers to buy online is between May and September.
• 20% of all weekly transactions are executed in the UK on Saturdays or Sundays. In comparison, consumers outside the UK and Germany account for 26% of their purchases over the weekends.
• German consumers still pay for two out of three purchases with payment methods other than the credit card. Consumers in UK and from the rest of Europe and non-European customers use credit card payment for over 90% of their online purchases.

“E-commerce is still a black box for many. The Pago Report attempts to shed light on the matter,” says Markus Weber, Pago eTransaction Services GmbH’s managing director. “In contrast to all other studies which are based on polls, the Pago Report is unique. We analyze real-life purchase transactions processed by thousands of European merchants through the Pago platform. This gives a valid picture of e-commerce which is not only interesting for experts and researchers but also provides European merchants valuable information to assist in their entry into this promising market.”

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