Think before you click!
That’s the message from the chief executive of the island’s Chamber of Commerce as she urged shoppers to buy local rather than making purchases online.
Jane Dellar was responding to the results of a survey of consumers in the three Crown Dependencies which found each of us now spend £7,000 a year on average on online shopping.
Ms Dellar said she was sceptical about that £7,000 figure.
She said: ‘I think there is some fundamental information missing from the survey to draw any valid conclusions.
‘The headline grabbing £7,000 doesn’t give any indication as to where the money is being spent or who is the provider of the online goods or services.
‘Buying online could be from an island business, not necessarily an off-island one.
‘Businesses based here travel globally to get new business so their travel costs are likely to be purchased online but the new business they obtain isn’t taken into account as the plus side of that internet purchase.’
Ms Dellar said that feedback from Chamber members who bring goods over to the island suggested there has not been any significant rise in the amount of freight from online purchases being delivered to the island – indicating the rise is likely to be in services rather than goods.
She said: ‘Many of our sectors benefit from online purchases such as our visitor economy – the island is open to many more potential visitors by online advertising and booking. Also our ICT sector who sell their services globally for cloud services and e-gaming etc.
‘Whether purchasing in person or online, from an on or off-island business, that purchase decision can only be down to the individual.
‘The most important thing is that individual makes that decision being fully aware of the consequences of that purchase to the island’s economy and job prospects.
‘Buying local produce from local business provides jobs and a sustainable economy. Purchasing non-local produce from off-island businesses means fewer jobs and leaves us with a non-sustainable economy. The message has to be “think before you click”.’
The survey of online shopping trends in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey was carried out by Island Analysis.
A sample of 1,692 Channel Island and Manx residents took part in the survey, equally divided between the three islands.
Among the key findings was that similar online shopping trends were recorded in each of the three islands, with the average annual online household spend of just over £7,000 in all three.
The overall value of online purchase expenditure, including travel bookings, in 2013 was estimated to be £216m in the Isle of Man, £258m in Jersey and £158m in Guernsey.
Two out of three respondents in each of the islands indicated that their expenditure level of online shopping had ‘increased’ or ‘increased a lot’ in 2013 over 2012.
‘Convenience’, ‘price’, and ‘product range and choice’ continue to be the dominant reasons for shopping online.
Just over one in three respondents indicated they ‘frequently’ or ‘very frequently’ visited a local shop to view a product but then buy it online.
As far as the barriers to buying online were concerned, ‘companies not delivering to the island’ was the most important reason stated in all three islands.