As retailers mop their brows following the rush of ‘Cyber Monday’ – historically one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping – new research released by O2 reveals how we are turning into a nation of ‘smart shoppers’, using technology to shop on our own terms this Christmas.
The report reveals how savvy shoppers are using technology to get ahead, with the average Brit visiting 21 retail websites each week on their hunt for the perfect present – notching up a staggering 425 minutes online. When translated into a physical shopping trip, a shopper would need to walk over seven miles each week to browse the same range of products.
While it’s clear online will play a bigger role than ever in consumers’ Christmas shopping experience this year, the research indicates that this won’t necessarily come at the expense of the traditional high street store. In fact, the in-store environment remains the most important factor (67%) driving consumers’ choice of where to shop.
Far from replacing the appetite for physical store experiences, the research highlights the growing trend for consumers to blend online and offline services to meet their needs – evidenced by the increasing popularity of click and collect services. According to the study, more than a third of shoppers are planning on using click and collect services this year, up 12% year-on-year. And, with the peak day for online reservations forecast for Monday 16th, it’s increasingly likely December will have not one, but two, ‘Cyber Monday’s.’
Feilim Mackle, Director of Sales and Service at O2, explains: “The digital revolution and the mass-market arrival of 4G is creating a nation of smart shoppers. For these consumers, armed with their smartphones and tablets, the journey from browsing to buying has fundamentally changed. They want to move seamlessly between the virtual and physical worlds and the onus is now firmly on retailers to make it a simple, easy and consistent shopping experience.
“With Brits spending hundreds of minutes a week online searching for gifts and inspiration, we all need to make sure each of our channels match the quality and depth of the experience we offer in-store. Whether that’s ensuring websites work perfectly on mobile or offering tailored product recommendations online. Those retailers that fail to live up to the test of the smart shopper run the risk of missing out.”
Neil Saunders, Managing Director, Conlumino adds: “Cyber Monday remains important but it is not what it used to be. With new services, like click and collect, consumers are now able to shop for Christmas gifts even later online, confident that their loved ones won’t go disappointed.
“Technology is enabling customers to shop in the way that best suit them, no longer restricted by lengthy online delivery times or store opening hours. Unless retailers keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer habits, they run the risk of being left behind.”