August 8, 2012, 2:41 PM

U.K. shoppers dole out $5.5 billion in shipping fees each year

That’s an average of $213 per household per year.

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U.K. consumers annually pay $213 per household, on average, to get goods ordered online to their doorsteps, according to a new study from U.K.-based market research company OnePoll commissioned by fleet management firm Trimble. That translates to $5.5 billion in shipping fees for all U.K. households, the study says. OnePoll surveyed 1,000 U.K. adults.

Rising fuel costs, low prices and convenience are a few of the reasons shoppers are willing to spend, on average, $4.68 delivery charge per order, the report finds.

Nearly two-thirds of the U.K. shoppers surveyed said they buy more online now than they did five years ago, and 88.9% expect to be spending the same or more online between now and 2017.

Convenience (36%) is the top reason for shopping via the web but crowded shopping centers and districts (20%) and busy lifestyles (15%) are also driving U.K. shoppers to by online. More than 20% of all respondents said they would do most of their shopping online if they could.

Economic hard times are playing a part in encouraging consumers to shop online, the report also notes. High fuel prices and parking fees are driving shoppers to the web, even if they have to pay a little for shipping.

Still, 29% of those polled said delivery costs are too high. Even so, 40% of shoppers are willing to pay for next-day delivery, 22% would pay for delivery within a two-hour slot.

U.K. shoppers also said they appreciate being able to choose a delivery window, being kept updated if there are changes to arrival times and friendly delivery personnel.

U.K. consumers’ biggest complaints with online shopping are missing a delivery and the package being returned to the shipping company’s facility or the post office (30%) and waiting a long time to get their goods. Nearly half of respondents say they are unsatisfied with their last delivery.                 

“Effective delivery is critical to a positive service experience, but the study shows that many companies are not meeting their customer’s needs,” says Mark Forrest, general manager of Trimble’s field service management division. “The key is keeping commitments; making ones that the company can keep and then ensuring the customer is informed along the way. As the online era is here to stay, retailers have a real opportunity to improve their brand recognition and leapfrog the competition by providing excellent customer service.”

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