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UK retail now sees more money spent online than on the high street: study

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More retail transactions now take place online than on the high street: study

UK shoppers now spend less money in shops than they do online, a new study suggests.


Some 43% of spending, by volume, takes place in UK stores, while 57% takes place online, according to the Mastercard study. More than a quarter (27%) of all spending takes place using mobile devices, found the study. Some 20% was spent via a smartphone or tablet used at home or at work, while 7% was spending using a smartphone or tablet elsewhere. Almost a third (30%) was spending online using a PC or laptop.


The research was carried out through an online survey of 18,174 adults in 12 countries including the UK - averaging around 1,500 per market.


Across all markets, it found that more than half (51%) of spending takes place in store, with the balance online. Almost a quarter (24%) of transactions take place online using a PC or laptop, while 24% are made via a smartphone or tablet at home or at work.


The countries that, the study found, have higher levels of high street spending – and conversely lower levels of online spending – include Russia (59%), the Netherlands (57%) and Switzerland (56%). Countries where less than half of spending takes place on the high street included Germany and Hungary (both 44%).


Mastercard says the shift correlates with its own Mastercard Spending Pulse tracker. The latest edition suggests an 11.1% rise in online shopping over the holiday season. But it is well ahead of other indicators. The latest BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Index suggested that 33.8% of non-food retail sales took place online during November 2018, while ONS figures showed 18% of sales taking place online in October 2018.


James Karppinen, head of retail at Mastercard UK, said: “Technology will have an increasingly important role in helping retailers woo shoppers back to the high street. The most successful stores are always gearing themselves around the overall shopping experience. These shops are becoming places to interact and personalise products rather than simply a place to buy things. We can expect to see this trend grow as smaller retailers realise they can offer something the online world can’t.”


Looking at the type of products being bought using m-commerce, the Mastercard study found that 55% have bought clothes and accessories via their phone at least once, followed by food and drinks (45%).


Image: Fotolia

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