October 4, 2005, 12:00 AM

The trend of online retail activity

Retail Forward’s periodic survey of consumer online shopping reports why some consumers don’t shop online.

It’s safe to say that 100% of consumers shop in stores. That’s not the case with retail web sites. In fact, the industry has persistently faced the 40% obstacle-about 40% of consumers don’t buy online. That phenomenon was upheld by the most recent E-Retailing Shopper Update report from consultants Retail Forward Inc., which reported in August the results of its periodic consumer survey in April. In fact, April saw a slight dip in the number of consumers who shopped online and who bought online in the prior six months. “Retailers hoping to attract more online customers must first understand and respond to the reasons-such as privacy, security and the need for personal interaction-that keep many shoppers away,” says the report’s author Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president of Retail Forward and director of the Retail Forward Intelligence System. Other concerns include “the feel factor,” sites that are difficult to shop, shipping costs and returns hassles. The report also looks at how consumers respond to retailers’ online marketing efforts. Here is a sample of the data from the 12-page report:

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