Consumers prefer buying online to purchasing goods on the high street

As shoppers shunned stores in favour of buying presents online, Britain’s high streets suffered their biggest drop in footfall in over a year in December. And as figures reflect the rapid pace of change of how people are doing their shopping, internet shopping is most definitely here to stay.

Enhanced websites and the possibility to shop around for the best deals without spending hours going from shop to shop allows customers to plan ahead with greater choice and convenience; a fundamental shift in shopping patterns that seems to be driving the sustained reduction in shopper numbers to the high streets.

It’s hard to deny that the internet has paved the way for savvier shopping, with retailers’ bricks and mortar taking the hit. To combat this and in an attempt to lure people back into the shops, retailers are relying upon the sales periods to make up for the shortfalls and to drive extra sales. However, this may come to an end too.

A recent survey by online marketplace lovethesales.com found that the majority of shoppers go online specifically to save money. During the Black Friday and Christmas periods, a whopping 80% of people said they wouldn’t click ‘buy’ unless the item came with a reduced price tag.

In fact, 61% of respondents bought Christmas gifts during the Black Friday weekend; and although this is a new date in the diary, it’s not a new phenomenon. Until recently, Manic Monday was the traditional rush for shoppers buying their gifts.

Many shoppers believe that Black Friday or the January sales are the times to get your bargains, but reports from lovethesales.com show that great prices on new products can be found any day of the year.

In fact, a whopping 80% of the fashion items that went on sale on Black Friday remained discounted throughout the whole of December. There was also a significant rise in the overall volume of discounted price products available in the second week of December, as retailers looked to gain extra customers shopping for Christmas gifts. And perhaps most surprising of all, the overall volume of discounted products did not rise for the Boxing Day sales.

This shows that although marketing and messaging around discounts for these periods increase, there were as many discounts available prior to these sales periods as there was during.

Stuart McClure of lovethesales.com said: “The move to online shopping has been relentless in the last few years, but now it really does seem that we have reached a significant tipping point as more people prefer to shop online than in the high street.

Judging from the outcome of our recent research, it’s become clear that the move to online shopping isn’t slowing down. In fact, rather the opposite, as people who shop online already are looking to make even more of their purchases and product research online as they believe they’ll get more for their money this way.”

And when it comes to discounts, online shoppers can expect to make great savings. The average reduction in price of fashion items during the last quarter of 2015 was 40%, and 25% off across electronics. Also, data from lovethesales.com shows that on any day of the year, between 10% and 15% of all retail products are reduced in price.

Stuart added: “As figures show, you no longer need to hold out for the key sales periods to save money as we’ve seen a staggering volume of discounts throughout the last quarter, not just on expected sales dates. Shoppers can make great savings on most things any time of the year.”

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