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Mobile and social shopping lead the way as UK consumers continue to embrace ecommerce

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Browsing on the move and social media have pushed mobile into the mainstream for shopping, using them while travelling to work, to browse in their free time and to shop from social media.

According to the Royal Mail’s annual UK report, laptops are the device most commonly used in the evening, while smartphones are most likely to be used at all other times of the day. In fact, since 2017, smartphone usage has increased in all locations. 78% now use their smartphone for online shopping whilst travelling or commuting, up from 71% in 2017.

Almost half (45%) of UK shoppers like to browse online in their free time and 44% of UK shoppers find it cheaper to buy online than in-store.

As part of this shift to mobile, 22% of UK consumers has purchased an item after seeing something on social media. Younger shoppers (48%), women (29%) and those living in urban areas (38%) are significantly more likely to have purchased items after seeing posts on social media.

Retailers are starting to respond to this change, with a separate study by Red Hot Penny finding that British brands M&S, Next and Paul Smith all perform well on social media. M&S (tenth, 77%) sticks to its tried and tested formula of great food photography and showcasing of key clothing items, with its Instagram feed having a slightly more fashion savvy female focused edge. Next (13th, 71%) uses Instagram well mixing up regrams of influencer’s posts and its lookbook imagery. Paul Smith (16th, 70%). has a differentiated feel on each platform and good mix of high quality content including video/image/gifs etc.

The Royal Mail study more widely finds that UK online shoppers make 87% of their retail purchases online, up from 80% last year. The proportion of money being spent online has increased as shoppers look for good value for money. The ability to compare prices and a wider choice of products are the key reasons for shoppers going online as opposed to shopping in-store. On average, shoppers spend £34 on each online transaction.

The study also found that men typically spend more online than women. On average, men spent £255 online over a period of three months, whereas women spent £204. Younger shoppers also typically buy online more frequently than shoppers of an older age. On average, those aged between 18-54 years purchased seven items, compared to six for those over the age of 55 years old, in the same three month period.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “The growth of online retailing is driving a relentless pursuit of value for money. People continue to look online for the best deals and prices and this is driving the proportion of money being spent online, which has increased for the second year in a row. Retailers of all sizes must ensure they are responding to the ever changing digital landscape alongside trends in online shopping behaviour being led by younger shoppers.”

Image: Fotolia

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