April 14, 2005, 12:00 AM

More than a quarter of consumers who go online still won’t buy there

Citing reasons from security concerns to shipping charges, 28% of North American online consumers don’t buy online. Most hesitant are younger women—the group with the greatest eventual spending potential, Forrester says.


In a climate in which it seems everyone has made a purchase online at some point, more than a quarter of online consumers are still holdouts. According to new data from Forrester Research, 28% of North Americans who go online for other reasons don’t buy there, for a variety of reasons.

62% of non-buying online consumers polled said concerns about giving credit card information over the Internet held them back, while 55% cited the inability to see an item personally before buying. 25% of non-online buyers said they prefer to research online but buy in a store. 22% cited delivery costs, 21% cited “horror stories heard about online purchasing,” and 17% don’t buy online because they aren’t confident the product will arrive in good condition. 12% didn’t want to have to wait for the item to be delivered; others cited a variety of additional reasons.

Cutting the data according to age and gender differences showed a slightly different picture. One of the most marked differences was that males younger than the age of 35 were far less concerned than were their female counterparts about the online security of their financial information – only 40% cited it as a reason not to buy over the Internet, compared to 61% of young women and 62% of all consumers surveyed. Most distrusting of providing credit card information online were women aged 55 or older. 72% of those polled cited it as a reason not to buy online, versus 59% of their male counterparts.

Another significant break occurred over the issue of delivery costs. 32% of young women said they don’t buy online because delivery costs are too high versus only 18% of young men and 22% of all of those polled. Only 15% of older males cited delivery costs as a concern and only 21% of older females.

Overall, according to Forrester’s findings, young women expressed the greatest reluctance to buy online of any age or gender subset. “Low technology comfort levels are the real culprit,” according to the report’s author, Forrester analyst Carrie Johnson. “To accelerate adoption, retailers must gain trust from shoppers and focus on winning over young females-the most hesitant group of online shoppers with the greatest future spending promise.”


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