Shoppers enjoy `cyber Christmas' as high street proves too expensive
Saturday 11 December 1999
Shoppers benefit from lower prices on the Internet than in shops, with some sites offering to refund more than the whole price of any goods if a high-street shop regularly sells the item cheaper.
Hundreds of people are already taking advantage of the fact to buy household goods such as washing machines and DVD players. One site, www.empiredirect.co.uk, gets 18,000 visitors per week, of whom 10 per cent buy its household goods, such as washing machines, microwave ovens and DVD players. One washing machine is pounds 45 cheaper, even with shipping costs, than the same model bought from the Curry's chain - although the chain runs "voucher schemes" which can undercut it briefly.
"Without the overheads of high-street retailers, we are able to guarantee to beat any high-street price by up to 30 per cent," said Amarjit Singh, sales director of Leeds-based Empire Direct. But a spokeswoman for Dixons Stores Group, which owns Dixons, Curry's, PC World, The Link and @jakarta, said: "The Internet can act as a magnet for people who will then come into stores. In some cases people browse on the Net, then buy in stores." Prices would only vary in the short term, she said: "You will always find some places selling some things cheaper for a brief time."
But the survey, carried out by the research group National Opinion Polls (NOP), showed that shoppers may be getting weary of high-street shopping. For the survey 1,000 shoppers were polled, and it was found that shoppers aged 15 to 24 cited high prices as the worst part of buying goods in shops. Significantly, that is the age group most likely to resort to the Internet for shopping instead.
Peter Baily, marketing director at the online retailer bigsave.com, which commissioned the NOP survey, said: "This will be the first true cyber Christmas experience, thanks to the explosion of online retailing and greater public awareness of the Internet."
Even after packing and shipping costs (which can be significant) are added, goods bought on the Net can still work out cheaper than those bought on the High Street.
Crowds, poor service and parking problems combine to make shopping one of the most stressful aspects of the festive season, according to those questioned by NOP. Yet only 36 per cent said they liked the flexibility, ease and convenience of shopping at any hour by computer - suggesting that online retailers still have some way to go to persuade potential customers to log on.
Some sites offer online comparisons of prices, such as www.valuemad.com. Such comparative shopping is forecast to rise rapidly, as greater access to the Net makes it easier to shop online.
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...