The majority of UK consumers (87%) are using the Internet to purchase goods and services more now than five years ago, but many are still reluctant to buy financial products on the Web, according to research from Alliance & Leicester Personal Loans.
The survey, which was conducted by YouGov, found that in the last year, the average consumer spent £770 on purchasing goods online.
Nearly three quarters (73%) cited better prices and discounts as reasons for shopping on the Web, while 59% found it easier to compare prices on the Internet. More than half of consumers (59%) choose to buy online because they can shop out of hours.
Despite this surge in online shopping, the research found that consumers still prefer to buy personal finance products, such as loans, at bank branches. Less than a quarter (23%) of respondents had applied for a personal loan online over the past five years. Nearly a fifth (19%) believed they would get a better deal talking face to face with someone, while 18% were wary of giving out their details online because of security concerns. Furthermore, 15% felt they would get a better rate dealing directly with their own bank, while 9% said applying online for a loan was too difficult and complicated.
Andy Bayes, head of personal loans, Alliance & Leicester, says it is encouraging that consumers are using the Internet for purchases, but disappointing that more don't also appreciate the perks of arranging their personal finances online.
"With these positive and savvy attitudes at large, it is surprising that more people don't realise the gains that can be made by researching and applying online for a personal loan too," he says.