Brands should take advantage of shoppers' increasing online spend

New research reveals that more than 10 per cent of UK consumers buy something online at least once a day, fuelled in part by the explosion of connected devices that means consumers are never more than a click away from making a purchase 24 hours a day.

lucy tesseras

It may not be a groundbreaking discovery considering the complete transformation the retail world has undergone in the past few years, but it represents a massive opportunity and highlights the need for brands to realign the way they communicate with potential customers to make sure they are reaching them in the most timely, accurate and engaging way.

The research underlines the growing dominance of online retail versus the high street, with 36 per cent claiming to do the majority of their shopping online.

The amount spent online in also increasing, doubling from £53 a month per shopper in 2003 to £113 a decade later, and it is only set to rise further as over a quarter of shoppers say they will spend more online this year than they ever have before.

The study, which was conducted by broadband comparison site and represents the views and buying habits of 2,000 UK shoppers, emphasises the need for brands to have a well-executed digital marketing strategy with a clear call to action and a seamless ecommerce experience.

Mobile in particular should play an instrumental role in the way brands communicate with consumers, but all too often the experience is let down by poor website design and inconsistent brand messaging.

I often use my phone when buying goods online – even at home as it is easier and more convenient than firing up my laptop – but all too often the site isn’t mobile-enabled so is impossible to navigate, or is a watered-down version of what can be found on the desktop.

The mobile is the only connected device consumers have by their side practically 24 hours a day so it should be a top priority for brands, but while many have stepped up their approach there are still too many that haven’t.

The rise of digital doesn’t necessarily mean the death of the high street – the research reveals that 32 per cent of UK consumers still do the majority of their shopping in physical stores – but if brands ignore the online experience and fail to communicate effectively with customers through digital channels they will get left behind by frustrated consumers who can just as easily go elsewhere.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Interesting piece, but I suspect very inaccurate - a great article on big data bias and in this case I suspect an omnibus study with 2000 online panel members, so perhaps 10% of online panel members purchase daily or maybe just an overstatement. Would be interesting to see how the question was phrased too.

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  • Lucy Tesseras' article is interesting and there is no doubt that more people are looking to purchase via a click of a button or swipe of a device. However as she highlights people still want the safety and credibility of bricks and mortar shopping too. What savvy brands should be doing is combining these experiences so customers can engage with their brands as and when they feel fit – whether that is seeing something on-line, liking it via social media, zapping it via an app to find out where it is available and then visiting the high street to buy it. Brands need to embrace digital as additional opportunities to increase their engagement with potential customers and giving them more and convenient options to purchase.

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