1.1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY
The Internet has grown tremendously during the past years. It radically changes the way people live, work and consume. It represents a tremendous opportunity as well as threats. As Chaffey and his colleagues (2003, p. xi) state: ¡°It gives consumers a much wider choice of products, services and prices from different suppliers and the means to select and purchase items more readily. For organizations, it gives the opportunity to develop new markets, to improve the competitiveness of the company, but it also gives rise to many threats to organizations¡±.
The UK, as one of the countries with the highest percentage of Internet users, is developing rapidly in Internet connections. It has been forecasted that Internet connectivity could reach 80 per cent of households by 2010 (Damesick, 2001). At the same time, online shopping in the UK is also becoming one of the hottest trends in retailing today (CACI, 2000). On the other hand, the exponential increases in online shopping and the fast rate of growth in the number of retailers selling online have created an extremely competitive marketplace.
In this already highly competitive market, it becomes essential for e-commerce managers to understand the different factors that affect people using the Internet as a new purchasing medium. There are many benefits that attract people to choose online shopping such as convenience, time saving, more available choices and possibly lower prices, however, many people are often hold back as fear of privacy, security and delivery issues in relation to Internet shopping.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
As Internet retailing grows in size and importance, marketing and consumer researchers devote more effort to studying consumer Internet behaviour. In those researches, most have been descriptive in nature, yielding statistical information on what is purchased online and the demographic characteristics.
Beyond simple description, the present study is in an attempt to get some insight into people¡¯s perceptions toward Internet shopping in the UK. More precisely, it attempts to find out the perception of Internet users towards the benefits and risks associated with online purchasing. A better understanding of consumer behaviour and perception would provide web vendors more efficient and effective management and strategy.
1.3 OUTLINE OF PROJECT
Chapter 1 provides the background for the study, the objectives and the outline of this research.
Chapter 2 gives an overview of the definition, importance and development of e-commerce in the UK. It then reviews some theories and models related to consumer buying behaviour and decision making process. Furthermore, it describes and explains in detail the main benefits and risks of Internet shopping.
Chapter 3 is the methodology part. It contains the hypotheses development, explanation to data collection method, piloting test of the survey questionnaire, sample size calculation, and reliability test.
Chapter 4 describes the findings of the research. The demographic profile and the purchasing behaviour of respondents are described. Finally, the hypotheses are tested.
Chapter 5 further discusses the findings, and yields some managerial implications. It then points out the limitation of the research and makes some recommendations for further research.
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
With the fast development of internet, E-commerce is receiving greater attention from various organizations and consumers. As part of e-commerce, the online shopping is becoming a trend in the UK as well as in other countries all over the world. There are advantages of online shopping, but also drawbacks. How the consumers perceive the different benefits and risks of online shopping will to a large extent determine their purchasing behaviour. This literature review aims to address a review of all the relevant...