Buying online - a survey of Swedish consumers

The Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket) has published a report (in Swedish) into the experiences and attitudes of Swedish consumers with regard to using the Internet as part of their information gathering process for products and services.

“The development of the Internet has led to new possibilities for consumers. With help of the Internet it is possible to search for information about products and services, compare prices, and in a whole new way explore a range of offerings not limited to local shops”

Sweden is the second most connected country in the world. Scandinavia is often at the forefront of online-innovation. With that in mind, this report could signal future trends for many other countries.

The report shows how searching for information via search engines is the most important activity in online consumer behaviour – the information they are looking for isn’t always the manufacturer’s or service provider’s website.

During February and March 2009, 1500 random Swedes, both men and women, in the age group 18-85 were interviewed by telephone. The report contains a huge amount of fascinating information, but below follows a summary of some of the findings.

More than 50% of consumers use the Internet weekly, or even more frequently, for finding information regarding products or services.

two-thirds of respondents had the card of bank-services that were required for purchasing online.

28% said they didn’t know how Internet-shopping worked. A third also gave that as a reason for not purchasing online. Of the 28% who never searched online, 76% were over 60 years old.

two-thirds of respondents claimed that convenience was a major reason for purchasing online. Almost as many said that speed or delivery, price and broad selection were major reasons.

11% had difficulty sometimes seeing or reading what was published on websites.

90% of respondents had used a search engine to find information about products and services. This was the most common answer. The next most common search method, with 73%, was to visit the online store or company directly.

85% were searching for prices. 80% product specifications. 52% searched for reviews from someone who had used the product.

Of those who had made an online purchase, 46% had done so at some point from a non-Swedish company’s website.