UK consumers spend the equivalent of two days a month surfing the internet without a particular end in mind and are easily distracted by online retailers, new research has shown.
An online survey of more than 2,400 adults found that shopping websites are the biggest cause of distracted web surfing – dubbed “Wilfing” by researchers, from the phrase “What was I looking for?” News was the second biggest distraction, followed by music, entertainment and travel websites in joint third place.
Video clips and other websites highlighted "virally" by users passing on web links to friends were also popular distractions, as were sports websites.
More than two thirds of those surveyed admitted regular Wilfing, from either their home or work computers, with almost a quarter spending 30% or more of their online time this way, the research carried out by YouGov for price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com found.
Jason Lloyd, head of broadband at Moneysupermarket.com, said: “The internet was designed to make it easier for people to access the information they need quickly and conveniently. However, our study shows that although people log on with a purpose, they are now being offered so much choice and online distraction that many forget what they are there for, and spend hours aimlessly Wilfing instead.”