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Dual screening during key shows like Bake Off lead to rise in sales on mobile, finds eBay

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Primetime TV programmes such as Peaky Blinders and the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) are responsible for triggering a significant rise in dual-screen shopping – the act of watching television whilst simultaneously surfing the internet on a laptop, tablet or smartphone – with a direct impact on small businesses selling kitchenware and flat caps, according to marketplace eBay.

eBay is releasing the data as part of its first ever UK Retail Report looking at how the UK shops as a nation. The report provides a snapshot of the way the UK bids, buys and sells – with a particular focus on the rise of dual-screening and the success businesses have had in making use of the trend.

According to Ofcom, two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

During the series premier of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), eBay saw a 67% rise in interaction with baking products while the show was on air, climbing to 133% for the hour immediately afterwards. A cookware item is now purchased every three seconds on eBay from a smartphone, tablet or mobile device.

Entrepreneur Richard Loynds, Director of 2012 eBay start-up Yolli, attributes GBBO to a “huge renaissance in baking” that inspired him to found the baking equipment and confectionary business which now employs 10 people in Blackpool.

Loynds adds that “each series of Bake Off leads to a 45% sales increase for Yolli, with products related to each week’s theme, such as cookie cutters which saw a rise of 30% in sales after this year’s biscuit episode.”

It’s not just GBBO that has driven sales for the nation’s small businesses. After the Season 3 premier of Peaky Blinders on 5th May, sales of flat caps (as worn by Cillian Murphy’s character, Birmingham gangster Thomas Shelby) tripled in volume on eBay, with demand remaining strong throughout the series.

Craig Sandall, Operations Manager at clothing and accessory business Universal Textiles, says TV programmes and pop culture as presenting “great business opportunities”. Sales of flat caps have risen 30% since Peaky Blinders aired.

Far from being an anomaly, “TV shows have a visible impact upon consumer fashion choices although it’s often difficult to pinpoint where the next will come from”, says Sandall.

Both firms point towards their agility in being able to source, stock and list new inventory in the lead up and response to influential TV programmes, and believe this allows them to move faster than bigger businesses to stock niche items in response to popular trends.

Some of the most influential TV programmes on eBay this year:

  • The Great British Bake Off

  • Peaky Blinders

  • Rio Olympic Games

  • Game of Thrones

  • The Walking Dead

eBay in the UK recorded a six-fold increase in searches for Game of Thrones merchandise on the day after the season 6 finale aired, with 71% of these coming from mobile – evidence of the dual-screening phenomenon. And following Team GB’s 11 cycling track medals at the Rio Olympics, Brompton bicycles were viewed 110,000 times during the remainder of August.

Murray Lambell, Head UK Trading at eBay, explains: “Prime time television breaks have long been the gold standard in advertising, with millions spent on ads that air during some of the nation’s favourite programmes. Nowadays it’s the actual show that’s inspiring consumers into action. Consumers are multi-tasking, with TV inspiring search activity on smartphones and tablets.

“This is an opportunity not lost on the small business community. Businesses like Yolli and Universal Textiles exemplify nimble and canny SMBs developing bespoke offerings to satisfy consumer demand and drive growth. They’re using TV for market research, quickly changing stock and then preparing for the next wave.”

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