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More people set to turn online for groceries, and Christmas shopping: studies

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Seven in 10 Christmas shoppers will buy online this year as they look to cut the costs of the holiday, a new study suggests.

Meanwhile, IGD research suggests that 42% of UK grocery shoppers could be converted to online shopping.

In all, the study suggests that 71% will turn to the internet as they look to spend less than last year, with average household spending on gifts, food and decorations predicted to fall to £796.05 from £820.60 last year. Spending on food will see the biggest cut, with predicted spend down by 8.2% to £159.34 from £173.60 last year. Last year’s study found that 42% of Christmas shopping was to be done online.

Some 28% of those who will be buying for Christmas will do so via mobile, using a smartphone or tablet. Then, 36% of mobile shoppers say they use their smartphone to look for discount codes, and 34% use it to compare prices.

The study questioned 2,144 UK adults online during the course of September, and found 16% said they had already started shopping before October, while 10% planned to have it finished by Black Friday, and 43% two weeks before Christmas.

Some 13% plan to shop on Black Friday, 10% on Cyber Monday – and 9% in the Boxing Day sales.

“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s interesting to see that the nation is set to be a little savvier with their festive spending this year, with households across the UK planning to spend less on seasonal essentials,” said Claire Davenport, managing director at . With technology at its most sophisticated yet, it’s easier than ever for people to shop around online and via their smartphone to get the best price and take advantage of discount shopping days while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the high street.

“It’s encouraging to see that these savvier habits are having a positive impact on the UK’s bank balances and financial wellbeing, as less people are worried about the cost of Christmas this year and feeling more optimistic about their finances in general.”

IGD predicts that online will be the fastest-growing part of the grocery market over the next five years. During that time, it predicts, online grocery sales will almost double in value to £17.2bn by April 2020, from £8.9bn in April 2015. Today 26% of grocery shoppers say they have shopped online for groceries in the last month, up from 22% in 2010. Some 11% of all shoppers say that’s where they do most of their shopping, although 33% say they are lapsed online grocery shoppers. Almost half (47%) haven’t gone online to buy their food in the last year, while 28% haven’t in the last two years.

Ben Miller, director of retail insight at IGD , says: “Online is still on a rapid growth curve, as people make the most of new devices, lower delivery charges and minimum spends, plus greater access to click and collect points.

“Those shoppers who have lapsed from online – or never tried it in the first place – told us that lower delivery charges, better selection of quality products and more accuracy on ordering could encourage them to make the switch. With the rapid improvements we have seen in online grocery over the last two years, there is every reason to believe that many shoppers would really enjoy today’s online grocery experience.”

Online grocery shoppers also tend to be slightly more loyal, according to IGD ShopperVista, with 54% saying they are always loyal to the same retailer against 50% of in-store shoppers. There is also a trend to conduct larger shops online than in-store, with 80% of online grocery shoppers claiming to do their ‘big shop’ online.

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