According to the results of a new study released last week, most consumers go online for information on the products and services of interest before purchasing.
The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) commissioned the study in July 2016. It also revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers of all ages in Gozo and Malta are using the internet.
The MCA said that 70% of users resort to the internet as the first port of call for searching for products and/or retailers before purchasing, regardless whether the transaction is eventually completed online or in a “brick ‘n’ mortar environment.”
The study found that whilst a laptop/desktop persists as the main device for accessing the internet by the majority of internet users, smartphones and tablets are growing in popularity with increases of 29% and 17% respectively over two years. The study also shows that more and more consumers are resorting to the internet during their purchasing journey.
The Authority added that an interesting trend that emerged from this study is that around 78% of internet users have become digital buyers, with the majority claiming to have carried out an online purchase in the three months prior to the survey. “This could be attributed to the level of service that they are getting when purchasing online, as the majority of digital buyers claim to be satisfied with the overall online experience.”
According to the study, slightly less than a third of digital buyers that are purchasing online are purchasing from local websites, with sales mainly restricted to event tickets, flights and accommodation.
However, the MCA said that on a more positive note there has been a general increase across many of the items bought locally. In addition, it noted that 80% of digital buyers purchasing online would be encouraged to buy from local websites if the delivery was offered for free and/or done more rapidly.
Online buying from foreign websites remains strong, the MCA said. The items mostly sought and which look set to keep on increasing year-on-year, are clothes and shoes at 77%, holiday accommodation and flight tickets, both at 74%. The study noted that the items which have significantly increased are the other travel arrangements (car hire, excursions, trains/buses, etc), from 12% in 2014 to 59% and events, from 12% in 2014 to 47%.
The MCA said that according to the study, one of the main reasons why a number of consumers are not purchasing online is the inability to see and try on items before buying. “Other factors that inhibit digital purchases are mainly related to delivery and lack of familiarity with completing an online transaction, and these have, more or less, remained the same over the years. However, security issues and lack of interest seem to be declining year-on-year,” it said.
The full report may be accessed here