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eCommerce overtakes the high street as the King of Retail

Published on November 14, 2012
Tags: Web Development London

For the first time, internet shopping has overtaken the high street as the UK’s favourite way of shopping. New research from Tealeaf has shown that 83% of adults were pleased with their online shopping experience, compared to only 81% being in favour of visiting a bricks-and-mortar shop.

Surprisingly, it was not the youngest age group which preferred online shopping over traditional high street shopping, but the 34-44 age group which saw 85% satisfaction with online shopping and only 78% for traditional shopping. The survey was carried out online, but the results were weighted in the direction of high street shopping in order to eliminate any sample bias towards online shopping.
Signs of the high street slowly dying out have been apparent for some time. Only one in five consumers visits an high street travel agent when researching or booking a holiday, compared to the 80% of people who now book their holidays online or otherwise independently. This is symbolic of the general shift in attitudes with regards to retail and is backed up by this most recent research.
Increasingly, the mobile web is being used to make purchases online - a sign that perhaps the PC and laptop may have only a very short reign as the King of Retail. Tealeaf’s research showed that smartphones were used by almost a quarter (24%) of UK consumers to research products, with half of these making a purchase directly using the mobile web. Those aged 25-34 were most likely to have made a purchase using their mobile phone with 29% responding affirmatively, with only 19% of those aged 18-24 saying they had purchased products using their smartphone.
A recent Tradedoubler survey showed that a massive 71% of smartphone owners had researched products using their phone, with 32% doing so on a weekly basis. These people, however, mostly (38%) chose to complete their purchase using another method with only 25% choosing to complete their purchase on their smartphone. Interestingly, smartphone apps still lag slightly behind the mobile web in terms of the percentage of people who actually complete a sale, with only 12% making a purchase using a smartphone app. This is a trend which is repeated across the different age ranges.
When it comes to product research, 39% of 18-24s admitted to having used their smartphones to research products which they may be interested in buying, with 19% of them having used a smartphone app in order to do so. 19% also opted to purchase through the mobile web, which is significantly lower than the 12% of those who chose to buy a product through a smartphone app.
Whichever way you view the figures, it is clear that the retail sector is changing enormously. Only time will tell which methods of buying emerge as the King of Retail, but it seems that an air of change pervades throughout the industry. 

By Chelsey Evans

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