Global Economics

BusinessWeek


While PayPal and other payment mechanisms are catching on, many EU citizens still prefer paying offline, sometimes in cash

More than half of European web users regularly shop online—though not all of them are making their payments over the internet.

Of the web shoppers buying products and services online in the past three months, 24 per cent used offline payment methods, 64 per cent used only online payment methods, and the remainder used a mix, according to a survey by Forrester Research.

For example, while 60 per cent of UK web shoppers prefer to pay with a credit card, only 26 per cent of Germans choose this option. In contrast, 17 per cent of French like to pay for online shopping with cheques, while 19 per cent of Italians use cash on delivery.

These strong national preferences make it difficult for European online retailers to offer a single online payment method, according to analysts at Forrester.

But new payment mechanisms such as PayPal are catching on. The UK leads the way with 35 per cent of online shoppers mentioning PayPal as one of their preferred online payment methods.

Retailers looking to improve their online sales should reassure their visitors about online security from the homepage. Forrester warned that too many online retailers wait for online shoppers to reach the checkout stage to display their security measures when it would be far more helpful for shoppers to have the information on the homepage.

Retailers should also continue to offer offline payment methods and offer new online payment systems as well, the analysts suggested.


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