Internet shoppers ‘need boost’

Designers of Internet shopping sites need to introduce more excitement if they are to appeal to younger customers, despite a doubling in overall customer numbers in the last year, according to a Verdict report released this week.

Verdict on Electronic Retailing says one million UK shoppers bought on-line during 1998, but that their profile changed.

There was a major drop in the number of 15-24 year-olds shopping on-line. “This age group has been brought up on highly sophisticated computer games and has extremely high expectations. Surfing the Internet can be agonisingly slow; websites lack innovation and intuition in the way they are designed; and the overall excitement factor can be very low,” reads the report.

On-line sales increased from 290m in 1997 to 406m in 1998, from an increasing number of shoppers aged over 45. Research group Verdict says Internet retailing will only be viable on a large scale if retailers add value through increased innovation.

Internet sales are predicted to reach 1bn in 1999, and to have topped 6bn by 2003.

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