By  on September 26, 2011

BERLIN — It’s a man’s world, according to a new report on Europe’s online consumers presented at theWorld Retail Congress which opened here today.

The survey of 10,000 shoppers in Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Russia by CB Richard Ellis/EMEA Research & Consulting showed men have replaced women as the most frequente-shoppers. Men average two virtual shop tours a month, versus women’s once a month activity, and while men spend more online for electronics and media, their online apparel purchases are on the rise, noted Peter Gold, head of Cross Border Retail EMEA, CB Richard Ellis. Men are also more likely to research potential purchases on line than women, the report data showed.

Other new study insights: the online consumer is ageless. The willingness to shop online is not skewed to youth, though younger shoppers are often deterred by delivery charges and difficulties in returning online purchases.

Higher earners are more likely to shop online, and these spent a larger proportion of total earnings on line.

“What’s caught the eye is how online apparel salesare growing,” commented Gold, with 15 percent of total apparel purchases now transacted online, 14 percent in Sweden, 13 percent in France and Great Britain 12 percent.Only 33 percent of those surveyed now said it was important ot touch and feel fashion before buying online.

Geographically, there is a north/south divide, with consumers in Sweden leading online shoppers, followed by Germany, Great Britain, France and Belgium, with Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Russia bringing up the rear.However,against expectations, access to the Internet and broadband was not always a decisive factor. In Russia, access can be as high as 50 percent, so ”the low takeup of 5 percent [of consumers buying online] is surprising,” Gold commented.

The goal, he added, was to understand what drive motivation to shop on line versus in store. Online, the biggest motivation was price, he reported. And in store, the biggest motivation was also price. “Wherever the product is cheaper is where they’ll shop, which might just indicate where we are economically at present.”

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