LOS ANGELES–Online shoppers today are notably more likely to purchase big-ticket home items, including furniture and major appliances, directly from a Web site than they were two years ago.
A study by PriceGrabber, a Web-based comparison-shopping service, found that “unease with online merchants’ customer service and the fear of making large online purchases have all decreased” since a similar survey was taken in 2006.
According to the current survey of 1,945 shoppers, taken in late March 2008, almost a quarter of respondents said they would most likely purchase home furniture online today. That compares with only 9 percent who made the same statement in August 2006.
Likewise, 24 percent said they would be apt to buy major appliances online today, compared with around half that number in 2006. And more than a fifth today would purchase patio furniture from the Web, versus only 13 percent in the earlier study.
While the desire to “touch and feel” large home items remains an important reason for people not buying off the Web, the percentage citing that reason has dropped over the two surveys to 56 percent from 70 percent.
However, price increases, especially for home delivery, have emerged as a strong negative factor in online buying today. The report notes that “25 percent, compared with 4 percent in 2006 indicated the cost of home delivery as the main reason they would not purchase online.”