Pushed to Purchase: Counting the cost of deceptive digital design in e-commerce
Design isn’t neutral, and the tactics used to guide customer choices online have real world consequences. This report finds that huge numbers of consumers are being pushed into purchasing things that they don’t want, need or later regret because of digital design tactics. In the last 12 months alone, consumers spent a total of almost £2.1 billion on things they didn't want, need or later regretted, because of digital design. This is a staggering amount of money when people’s wallets are already stretched as a result of cost-of-living pressures.
Deceptive design tactics are not only having a considerable impact on consumers’ finances, but our research shows that the tactics are negatively affecting people’s wellbeing and time. We estimate that last year consumers wasted more than 49,000,000 hours trying to fix the problems caused by these deceptive digital design tactics.
It’s clear that the online marketplace is not working for consumers. To fix it we not only need to clamp down of bad practice, but we also need a new regulatory framework that shifts the burden of responsibility for promoting the best interest of consumers onto companies themselves.