Shopping and surfing on the Internet looks set to become the UK's favourite pastime with two out of every five people enjoying access to the Web whether at home, school or work.
According to the fifth annual report by Continental Research, nearly 18.6 million UK citizens have used the Web at least once in the past 12 months with around 11.1 million logging on once a month or more.
Further research from ecommerce consortium, Commercenet, has also revealed that just under a third of the UK population has made online purchases with even more using the Web to find product and price comparison information.
Continental's report estimates that around £2 billion was spent online over the 12 months covered, which accounts for around one per cent of high street purchases made by consumers in the UK. Both companies found that the most popular purchases made on the Internet included books and travel.
Commercenet discovered that the main reason why people do not buy goods online is due to security fears. Around 39 per cent of 4,700 UK respondents to the Commercenet/Nielsen Internet and ecommerce survey, said they lacked trust in payment systems on offer over the Web, although 24 per cent revealed they preferred to shop in store.
The Internet looks set to revolutionise behavioural patterns just as television did in the 1950s. Already Continental has found that 11 per cent of respondents to its survey reported sleeping less, 11 per cent said they spent less time with their families and a third watched less television as a result of the time they spent surfing the Web.
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