December 16, 2010, 1:08 PM

40% of U.K. shoppers will do at least half their shopping online this holiday season

Price is a key factor why, says a new survey.

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U.K. shoppers are on the prowl for bargains this holiday season, which is why 40% of them plan to do at least half of their holiday shopping online this year, according to a new survey commissioned by online engagement platform provider EpiServer.

The survey of 2,000 U.K. adults found that another reason for the jump is an overall increase in their online shopping. 39% of respondents said they have increased their online shopping over the past year.

Price is a key reason consumers are going online, says the report, as 45% of consumers say they check more than one site to comparison shop before making a purchase. That’s particularly true for women, 48% of whom compare prices between sites, compared to 39% of men.

35% of all U.K. consumers say they search for a discount code before completing a purchase. However, that’s also more pronounced for women, 39% of whom check for discounts, compared to 29% of men.

“While the increase in online shopping is positive for British retailers, the survey also reveals a critical challenge, with a significant number of consumers shopping around and comparing products before making a purchase,” says Neal Perry, EpiServer’s U.K. country manager. “To convince these savvy shoppers to buy, retailers need to deliver an engaging and satisfying online experience, otherwise they’ll merely migrate to the competition.”

Meanwhile, a separate study sponsored by software vendor NetSuite Inc. suggests that U.K. retailers have not fully realized the full potential of online retailing.

The survey of 250 U.K. retailers by the Opinion Research Business found that while 80% of the retailers surveyed have an online presence, 53% don’t generate significant sales from those operations.

Few U.K. retailers are engaged in social media, according to the survey. 22% say they seriously employ social media to engage consumers with their businesses and 28% say they monitor what consumers are saying about them—either formally, such as through a listening platform, or informally, by looking at Facebook or Twitter comments, for example.

“Over the last 10 years, e-commerce has changed the face of retailerING? and gets more and more popular every year,” says Roman Bukary, NetSuite head of industries marketing. “The fact that so few high street retailers are truly taking advantage of the Internet to engage with consumers in a dialogue, gauge feedback, enhance sale and increase their geographic reach could be a worry. As people’s shopping habits continue to migrate to the web, the risk is that high street retailers could be left behind.”

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