Online shopping on track to eclipse traditional retailers

Online shopping on track to eclipse traditional retailers

While 71 percent of consumers do half or more of their shopping online, only 11 percent claim to use a smartphone or tablet for internet shopping. The Toluna survey of UK, US and German consumers suggests that current e-retail sites are still not optimized for smaller devices and so people are sticking with more traditional means of accessing the internet.

Over 4 in 5 UK consumers said that they would be using a desktop or laptop to do their shopping, compared with 7 percent who said they would be using a tablet. When asked, 65 percent said they shopped online to compare prices, and 51 percent claimed it was so that they ‘could see everything they need' at a single glance, further reinforcing the idea that more screen real estate is needed.

This growing popularity of online shopping is reflected in the latest figures from comScore. Published over the weekend, they reveal that the past week (December 8 to December 14) was the heaviest five-day online shopping period in US history, with spending totaling $6.9 billion, an 11 percent increase on the same period last year.

And while online shopping is booming, other areas of technology are still failing to have an impact. When asked about social media and shopping, only 5 percent of UK respondents said that they will use a link from a Facebook page to go on to purchase an item, with a further 6 percent redeeming a Facebook offer. Pinterest has even less impact. Just 1 percent of respondents claim to draw inspiration from the platform's visual postings.

This ties in with the most recent Forrester Research report, published in September, which tracked 77,000 online purchases made by US consumers during two weeks in April. It found that only 1 percent of online purchases could be tracked back to something the purchaser saw on a social network.

There is also bad news for Square, Google Wallet and PayPal, as only 11 percent of respondents plan to pay for items using their smartphones via Near Field Communication (NFC) at the point of sale. Despite the fact that 85 percent of US and German citizens polled are aware of the technology, 81 percent of all those polled made it clear that they would not be using their phone to make in-store payments.

Of the survey of 2,000 UK, 1,000 US and 1,000 German consumers, UK Managing Director at Toluna, Mark Simon, said: "The availability of cheaper products online, as well as a proliferation of user-friendly, unbiased price comparison sites, is clearly detracting from the traditional in-store shopping experience. However, smartphones and tablets are not being used, suggesting that they do not yet facilitate online retail experiences as well as traditional technologies. It will be interesting to see how technologies develop to provide better shopping experiences both in-store and online to adapt to consumers' changing priorities."