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Brits intolerant of bad websites

More than half of Brits who shop online buy holidays (56 per cent) but they are also the least tolerant of poorly performing websites.

Whilst they shop more frequently, spend more and are far more likely to purchase other products and services online, 16 per cent would never use a website again following poor performance. A quarter would turn to a competitor or head to the high street if they experienced problems on more than one occasion.

These are the key findings of the Online Travel Study undertaken across the UK by web testing specialist SciVisum. The study confirmed the huge commercial value of holiday shoppers to online companies and the risk of financial loss if they fail to guarantee smooth transactions on their sites.

Big spenders?

Consumers who buy holidays online shop more frequently and spend more than average online shoppers. On average those who buy holidays spend around £118 a month compared to an average monthly spend of £88 by all other online shoppers. Over a third shop monthly, (36 per cent) and a quarter do so once a week. They also spend more on a single purchase, with a huge 96 per cent investing £100 or more on a single item.

Women are far more likely to buy their holidays online than men (63 per cent compared with 57 per cent), and across the UK, central London has the largest percentage of consumers booking a break via the internet. Those living in the south, London and Scotland are also more likely to turn their backs on high street travel agents than their counterparts in the North and Midlands.

Why are they shopping online?

For those holiday shoppers choosing to book their break via the internet, speed and price are the main motivators for going online. 66 per cent gave both as their main reasons for doing so whilst only 57 percent of other shoppers claim to be driven by the same factors. Other influences cited by online consumers include a wider range of choice and the avoidance of high street queues.

Low tolerance?

Whilst consumers who buy holidays online regularly spend more, e-tailers be warned, they are also the shoppers most prone to web rage. While over a quarter (27 per cent) would forgive a favourite website twice for poor performance, 86 per cent would leave a website with an incomplete transaction, compared with 78 per cent of all other online shoppers.

For well over half of online shoppers (64 per cent), the biggest indicator of poor performance was an online shopping basket crashing, followed closely by being unable to amend an order (60 per cent), 41 per cent would go elsewhere if the website was generally sluggish. Only 15 per cent of all online shoppers said they would persevere and stick with a badly performing site.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.