The online retail industry will be worth £50bn in 2018 as spending through smartphones and tablets continues to grow rapidly, retail consultancy Verdict said.
The research, which surveyed over 10,000 online shoppers, shows the latest evidence of the increased adoption of online shopping and the challenge facing Britain’s high streets.
Just one pound in every ten is spent online, including food and non-food retail, according to the Office of National Statistics.
But Verdict said that the growth in smartphone and tablet ownership has moved online shopping into the living room, with consumers’ enjoying using the internet more than ever before.
The survey found only 4 per cent more people considered physical shopping to be more enjoyable than online, compared to a 25 per cent gap 18 months ago. Patrick O’Brien, lead analyst at Verdict, said: “Rather than push online spend outdoors, the rapid adoption of touch screen tablets and smartphones has moved online shopping into the living room.
“67 per cent said they shopped from their living room, indicating that second screening, browsing websites while watching TV, has had a major impact.
“This, together with the ability to browse on smartphones wherever you are, and social media, has made online shopping a much more immersive and interactive experience than it was only a few years ago, when more shoppers tended to be restricted to desktops typically located away from the living room.”
Shingo Murakami, MD, Rakuten’s Play.com said the research was a call to action for retailers to ensure that shopping online is enjoyable and memorable. “For many years retailers have struggled to bring the personalised and engaging experience of the bricks-and-mortar shop on to their website, but the balance is now shifting with the digital experience rivalling and sometimes even surpassing the in-store.”
Verdict stated it was a ‘myth’ that the rise of mobile shopping has led to consumers buying products from a retailer while in the store of a rival company. According to its research, only 2 per cent of online shoppers have bought a product while in a store, while 97 per cent shop at home.
“Rather than making consumers agnostic about where they make their purchases, smartphones and tablets are used in stores mainly to check prices and product details,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The idea that showrooming customers are wielding their smartphones in stores to purchase from rival retailers en masse is a myth.”