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Retail and Hospitality

E-commerce set to boom at Christmas

The early signs for a strong-performing Christmas this year are good for retailers, as 96 per cent of online consumers expecting to make at least some of their Christmas purchases through retail websites.

This is according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.

These results demonstrate the need for retailers to provide shoppers with the ability to shop when, where and how they want

Derek Eccleston, eDigitalResearch
The survey of 2,000 consumers also found that around 26 per cent of these will do more Christmas shopping online this year compared to the year before, marking the importance for retailers to have a strong online presence and easy-to-use website.

The results also found that 41 per cent of smartphone owners will consider making Christmas purchases from their mobile devices this year, a number that has risen almost 20 per cent in just 12 months.

Meanwhile 73 per cent of mobile shoppers expect to make more Christmas purchases from their smartphone, signalling the potential increase to profits that mobile-enabled sites and transactional apps have to offer retailers this Christmas.

And 71 per cent of tablet owners will also consider doing some of their Christmas shopping from their tablet device as well this year. Results show that tablet ownership now stands at around 21 per cent of UK online consumers following a big uptake since the introduction of new makes and models.

The study also found that around half of smartphone owners are already accessing the internet from their mobile whilst out shopping on the high street, and half of these are taking the opportunity to visit retail websites.

However, an additional 29 per cent said that they would use their mobile more whilst out shopping if free wi-fi was readily available.

Whilst some retailers are daunted by customers actively using their smartphones in-store, wary that it could lead to shoppers purchasing items at rival stores online, others, such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and John Lewis, are all offering their customers the chance to get online within their stores and embracing technology to help improve the overall multi-channel customer experience.


“Mobiles have become an integral part of the engagement process between brands and consumers, and the roll-out of 4G is only going to increase the appeal and ease of accessing mobile internet on the move,” said Andy Mulcahy, head of communications at IMRG. “Any specific physical retail location is, in essence, also a virtual showroom for every competitor that retailer has through a mobile device.


Derek Eccleston, head of research at eDigitalResearch, explained: “As online, mobile and tablet shopper numbers continue to rise, it is important for retailers to integrate technology into their high street presence.

"Retailers will never be able to stop shoppers from using their smartphones whilst out shopping, and whilst there will always be the threat of a customer choosing a cheaper, online competitor, by integrating this new technology into the high street, retailers will be able to offer a more rounded customer experience, increase overall satisfaction and, quite possibly, keep shoppers in stores for longer”.


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