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How the world shops online

Global consumers use the Internet predominantly for price comparison, research, and reviews -- not buying.

This is the fourth of five articles derived from McKinsey’s iConsumer survey, an annual survey that tracks changing consumer behavior for different digital experiences.

Will clicks replace sore feet as the preferred means to indulge in a little retail therapy?

Not likely—or certainly not yet—is the conclusion of McKinsey’s most recent survey of Internet users in countries in the US, Asia and Europe. Yes, consumers do use the Internet extensively when it comes to buying – but predominantly for price comparison, research, and reviews. When it comes to parting with their yen, dollars and euros, though, they greatly prefer to do so in person.

That is particularly true for Americans; only 9% bother to go to price comparison sites to check out computer prices and 12% for electronics—a far lower percentage than any other country. In this area, the Japanese are the leaders— more than half check out prices online for these products, well ahead of the pack. Curiously, though, Japanese (and Germans) are less likely to do such research on their mobile phones than others, while Americans are more likely to do so.

To read the full report, download the PDF.

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Sector: Retail

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