Consumers rely on personalised recommendations when shopping online, study finds

The UK leads the rest of Europe in the adoption and usage of personalisation technology when shopping online, according to a study released today by IDC and RichRelevance.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK, Germany and France, investigated how shoppers utilise personalised services in their purchasing choices and online shopping habits. Significantly, personalisation is most advanced in the UK, with the majority of Britons (53%) citing personalised product recommendations as clearly relevant to their purchasing habits compared to four in ten shoppers in Germany and France. 

Not only do recommendations fuel greater spend, they also drive repeat visits. The highest online spenders are also the most likely to respond well to recommendations. Forty percent of those spending over €600 buy a recommended product. In the UK, over a quarter (26%) of consumers also said that recommendations would make them more likely to shop at the same retailer again. 

The research suggests that personalisation is most effective amongst UK consumers between the ages of 45 and 54 years old (36%); this age group is the most likely to return to a retailer as a result of targeted recommendations, closely followed by 55 to 64-year-olds (32%). The under 35s are the most interested in being recommended products they would not initially have considered, presenting an opportunity for retailers  to influence this age group by delivering relevant recommendations at the right time.

The research affirms that relevance in delivering personalised product recommendations is crucial. Nearly half (45%) of UK consumers use recommendations because they are presented at the right time in the decision-making process. This is based on search criteria, previous purchases, the “wisdom of the crowds”, what the consumer is currently viewing and what is already in their basket. 

“It’s clear that accurate, well-timed recommendations, based on popular customer behaviour, deliver sales results for retailers and help retain customers”, said Spencer Izard,
head of European retail insights & executive advisory programme, IDC. “The research shows that personalisation is becoming one of the main competitive battlegrounds for online retailing, and retailers need to take it seriously.”  

Pontus Kristiansson, vp of marketing, EMEA RichRelevance, said: “Now more than ever, retailers need to find ways to engage with their customers. By delivering shoppers relevant information they want, when they want it, personalisation drives customer loyalty, increased purchase and average basket value. Personalisation will continue to be a key differentiator for retailers in their battle for customer engagement and retention.”

Other key findings include:

UK shop online more than French or German shoppers: 70% of UK consumers shop online more than once a month, compared to their German (61%) and French (45%) counterparts. 

Laptops are significantly more popular for online purchases than mobile devices: Although we might be entering an mcommerce age, the majority of shoppers in the UK (85%), Germany (85%) and France (75%) still prefer to purchase online from their laptops, rather than on mobile devices. 

Recommendations influence purchases and lead to sales across all three markets: 18% of those surveyed make their choices after considering which other bestsellers are recommended.
Personalisation makes shoppers feel valued: A fifth of UK and German survey respondents and 17% of French consumers said that personalisation makes them feel valued by the retailer.