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Mobile not killing the desktop, but both are hitting stores, with shoppers split along age lines

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The UK is not just split on age lines when it comes to Europe, but shopping also seems to be dividing young and old, with millennials preferring mobile and the older contingent looking more to using desktop for buying.

However, all age groups routinely use mobile in their shopping journeys and desktop and mobile are both growing at the expense of stores.

So finds a consumer survey from Signal, a real-time, people-based marketing specialist, which bravely proclaims that the desktop is far from dead in ecommerce, but that mobile is the future.

The new data confirms that in the UK, people are embracing digital shopping over stores, and that mobile is the future in retail, with half of millennials preferring laptops and mobile over stores, and one in five choosing mobile phones and tablets as their favourite way to shop.

While consumers’ love of mobile is highlighted by the increasing amount of time they spend on mobile devices, just 6% of shoppers say that mobile phones and only 8% say that tablets are their device of choice for browsing for gifts. Connected devices are used even less often to make purchases, with 4% reporting their phone and 7% reporting tablets as their favourite method of buying.

However, mobile appears to be the future of retail, with people saying that they are shopping more often on phones and tablets. Almost one in five said that they plan to browse on their mobile phone more frequently than they did last year, and 12% say they plan to purchase from their phone more frequently than last year. Additionally, millennials (aged 18-34), are leading the way in the mobile revolution – they are four times more likely to shop for gifts on their mobile phones than older consumers. Women are also more likely than men to shop with their mobile devices.

However, the survey of 2000 UK consumers found that the majority prefer shopping for gifts on their desktops or laptops over stores or mobile. More than half (61%) of respondents chose desktop as their most frequent way to browse for gifts, and 54% said most of their gift purchases are completed on a desktop. Consumers also still love shopping in stores, which ranked second in the survey as the best way to shop: 25% prefer to browse for gifts in stores and 34% prefer buying in stores.

“Retailers need to focus on their digital strategies, especially as they firm up plans for the 2016 festive shopping season,” says Neil Joyce, SVP and Managing Director, EMEA, at Signal. “Consider how desktop experiences can complement in-store experiences, and vice versa, to give consumers the options to shop how they want, where they want, and increase chances of making the sale.”

But Joyce adds: “Although mobile isn’t consumers’ preferred method of browsing and buying yet, 1 in 3 shoppers do use mobile websites or mobile apps to make purchases. Retailers should consider how to take friction out of the mobile experience to better serve consumers on the go, especially as mobile-loving Millennials continue to gain buying power.”

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