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Despite the convenience of shopping online, nearly two out of three consumers prefer to buy a known and trusted brand that also exists offline, a new study claims.

A survey of over 1,000 customers by insurers Direct Line shows even though internet buying is surging in popularity, shoppers still do not trust online-only brands.

Only one in three feel as well-informed when purchasing goods online as they do when buying face-to-face or over the phone, while 83 per cent prefer access to an expert, a feature not inherent in web-based companies.

“Consumers today want the convenience of the internet and the comfort of knowing an expert is at the other end of the phone at any time,” said Emma Holyer, from Direct Line.

The survey found the attitude pervasive across all age groups, particularly among 25- to 34-year-olds, an audience typically more relaxed to brand affiliation.

Some 65 per cent of this group said they believe brand awareness to be a key factor when purchasing online.

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