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Value of online shopping baskets drops 20 percent this summer

15 September 2011 - 10:17 by Graham Miller

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UK consumers are reigning in their average expenditure when shopping online, with typical order values shrinking by a fifth during July and August.

This is according to statistics gathered by Computop, a payment firm, which said that during the same period in 2010 there was actually a growth of around nine per cent, suggesting that this year has been harder on consumers' wallets than previously anticipated.

While there was an overall increase in the number of orders made during the last two months, with four per cent more placed via safe shopping online, the individual value of each order is the area in which a decline has been measured.

Analysts are being faced with very complex patterns of consumer behaviour which are being influenced by the fluctuating economic conditions across the Eurozone and in the US.

Computop spokesperson, Ralf Gladis, explained that while people are still flocking to e-commerce sites to buy products they are actually investing in fewer items each time, which in turn reduces the average amount being spent.

According to Mr Gladis there are now more people trying to manage smaller household budgets which means there is less disposable income to be spent on products not deemed essential.

It is suggested that retailers might make it easier for consumers to buy goods if they opened up a wider range of payment options, perhaps providing loans for the larger, more expensive items so that there is less of an immediate financial burden on the buyer.

Interestingly the UK is the only major country in which average basket values have fallen in the past year while the Eurozone itself is actually experiencing slowdown but not a decline in growth in this area. This either speaks to the frugality of British consumers or to their lack of confidence in the market.<