Currency crunch: What stops people shopping on foreign websites?

CurrenciesA new survey shows just how important listing e-tail prices in local currencies is for shoppers. The survey, from business translation specialist One Hour Translation, shows that 80% of UK consumers won’t buy from sites if the prices aren’t listed in British pounds.

That’s a big problem in itself given the that the UK online shopping market is a world leader. But translate that around the world and the simple fact of not listing goods in local currencies means e-tailers globally are losing billions in sales revenue.

One Hour Translation spoke to 1,000 UK consumers and found that older respondents are less likely to purchase items from websites that don’t list their prices in British Pounds.

But even though younger consumers are more comfortable with shopping in dollars, euros, yen or any other currency, 64% of 18 to 24-year-olds still refuse to shop in anything other than GBP. The figure was 71% for ages 25 to 34, 79% for 35 to 44, 83% for ages 45-54, a massive 93% for ages 55 to 64 and 96% for anyone 65 or over.

In cosmopolitan London, 77% of people overall won’t buy in foreign currencies but while the figure came down to 52% for the youngest age group, it still shows a majority wanting to shop in their own currency.

“The significance of the new survey is immense,” said One Hour Translation’s CEO Ofer Shoshan. “The British consumer public has sent a very clear message to e-commerce sites all over the world that from now on prices must be listed in the local currency in order for local customers to shop online. The matter of pricing in British Pounds cannot be resolved solely by providing a clearing solution, but requires that prices be listed in British Pounds throughout the purchasing process.”

Shoshan added that “many e-commerce sites are faced with low conversion rates of British visitors and find it difficult to turn [them] into customers. Now, it appears that we have found one of the keys to solving this problem. Not only do customers prefer to shop on websites in their native language, but at the least British customers clearly prefer to shop in their own currency. It stands to reason that the situation is similar in other countries.”

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