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Future of retail is in ‘bricks and clicks’, says John Lewis

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John Lewis says the future of retail lies in ‘bricks and clicks’, combining the high street and online.

In a new report, How we Shop, Live, Look, the department store group, has analysed a year’s worth of data to find out how its customers shop today. It says that 40% of its online purchases are now collected from a store using its click and collect service. That’s up from 27% a year earlier. “We’ve pioneered this approach,” said the report, “and customers have responded, showing that the combination of bricks and clicks is where the future of retail lies.”

“Contrary to some headlines,” it added, “we don’t think that online shopping is replacing the high street. In fact, our shoppers tell us they still enjoy shopping as a leisure activity. John Lewis continues to draw customers into its high street shops with shop sales up 3% for the first half of 2013.”

Some 42% of John Lewis’ online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablet computers, with fashion a particular draw for mobile users.

The company also predicts that the busiest day in the run up to Christmas will be December 1, Cyber Sunday. That’s when, it says, “shoppers, armed with one of the final pay packets of the year, will buy most of their presents.”

John Lewis also came up with some surprising figures: 44% of its customers are male, 39% are aged under 34, while 42% have a household income of £30,00 or more.

Some 64% of its customers shop through more than one channel, while 20% shop through store only and 16% online only. Washing machines are most popular online purchases while mobile buyers are most likely to buy a white Egyptian cotton towel. The most expensive item bought via mobile was a £7,000 television, bought at 10pm.

Mobile dominates as a buying device up to 9am in the morning, while tablets overtake mobile use after 9pm, while people watch TV and browse at the same time. During the day, from 9am and again during lunchtime, desktops and laptops are most widely used to browse the John Lewis site.

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