UK web users are still very untrusting of shopping at online retail websites. That's according to a study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) this week.
The report concludes that the rapid growth of internet shopping is a success story that benefits both consumers and businesses across a range of markets. But that both could do more to make the most of the opportunities it provides.
The UK internet shopping market is estimated to be worth over £21.4bn, and last year over 20 million people shopped online with nearly a third of them spending over £1,000.
But the report also found that some shoppers could find better deals by searching more effectively. Many could do more to protect themselves online, and most do not know that they have cancellation rights when shopping on the internet.
Additional protection for online shoppers
The OFT also found that many businesses did not know their obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs) which provide additional protection for shoppers when buying online. Some businesses could also do more to address consumers' concerns about privacy and security.
John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said: "The internet has added a welcome new dimension to competition in the economy, as well as providing convenience for shoppers and new opportunities to compare prices and find new products.
"However, if online shopping is to continue to flourish, the awareness and the protection of consumers' rights need to improve. The OFT is committed to working with businesses, consumer groups and other bodies to make sure that consumers can shop with confidence online."