For the first time, the MCA commissioned a qualitative study about Internet and eCommerce use by individuals to obtain a more indepth analysis of the public’s perceptions, fears and concerns when transacting over the Internet. A number of focus groups were conducted, selected from a pre-defined sample of the population. Open-ended questions were used to elicit in-depth replies and to ensure productive discussions.
The findings of this study confirmed already available data indicating that Internet skills are mostly absent amongst pensioners, females and those with a low-level of education. However, this study revealed that these groups could be motivated to gain these skills. In particular, the following emerged as key motivators: Interestingly, some participants showed interest in learning how to use the Internet after hearing about the benefits and ease of online shopping from other participants. Indeed, some also claimed that they would seriously consider online buying if they came across prices on the Internet that were substantially cheaper than those found in local shops. Moreover, the participants showed willingness to attend a short course about the Internet and online buying if this was designed in a practical and simple manner and tailor-made for a specific audience. Participants who made use of the Internet claimed that they found the Internet very useful when buying a product or service as they could easily compare product features and prices.