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77% of smartphone owners still use catalogues to browse proving that integration of all channels is key for success

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Around 3 out of 4 (77%) smartphone owners have researched or browsed using catalogues over the past six months according to the latest consumer research from eDigitalResearch and Portaltech Reply, signalling the importance that more established and traditional channels still have to play in the overall multichannel customer journey.

Similarly, just 3% of the smartphone owners surveyed had not visited a store to make a purchase over the past six months, despite numerous retailers announcing a fall in high street profits, and proves that channel integration of established channels, alongside new and emerging touch points, will be key to retailer’s success in the future.

eDigitalResearch and Portaltech Reply have been tracking the changing trends in multichannel shopping and browsing preferences with UK consumers since June 2010. This, the third study of its kind carried out earlier this year, found that whilst online and mobile channels are seeing substantial year on year growth, the results showed that more traditional shopping channels, such as catalogues and stores still have a vital role to play.

Derek Eccleston, Head of Research at eDigitalResearch, comments, “With our consumer research studies, we’ve been able to track over time the impact that smartphones and new technologies has had on consumer behaviour and buying patterns. The research highlights the need for retailers to integrate all their customer touch points, old and new, and provide a seamless customer experience in an ever increasingly multichannel world. For retailers operating more established channels, as well as introducing new and emerging touch points, it is essential to create a dynamic and engaging multichannel strategy to involve all channels into the browsing and buying customer journey”.

Mark Adams, Partner at Portaltech Reply, explains, “Our research highlights that the super shopper demands great experience wherever and whenever they engage with their chosen retailer. They want that experience to be consistent across touch points, to feel valued and to be spoken to as an individual whether in-store, via cata­logues or the call centre, online or through mobile and tablet devices. This revolution in consumer behaviour and consumer expectations will require retailers to effectively align business strategy, process and systems to keep pace and ensure they survive and prosper in the digital retail age”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, online and mobile channels have seen significant growth over the past twelve months with 84% of smartphone owners using both online and mobile channels to shop on a regular (weekly or monthly) basis, a number which has risen by 36% since March 2011.

The results also show substantial growth in purchases made by mobile devices across all product categories. 64% of those smartphone owners surveyed had used their mobile to make a purchase, with items such as Books, CD’s, DVD’s, clothes and travel products the most popular to buy. However, DIY specialists, footwear and jewellery retailers have seen some of the biggest growth in this area over the past year, with mobile optimised site orders growing 169%, 121% and 124% respectively year on year.

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