Technology slowing purchase times

 

online shoppingTechnology has slowed down the purchasing process rather than making it quicker, according to a new report by UK retail consultancy, Conlumino and property company, Hammerson.

The 2014 Retail Report, which looks at the evolving shopping habits of the UK’s Considered Consumer, says that compared to 10 years ago, consumers spend almost twice as long browsing for products (90 minutes today, compared to 50 minutes in 2003).

Ten years ago, the full period of time from initial consideration to purchase took half a day, however now, this deliberation takes three and a half days.

Despite this, the time spent specifically on the transaction and collection has reduced over the past decade from eight minutes to six minutes.

Shoppers prepared to wait for offers

The mindset of the considered consumer is about the perception of value rather than pure price, and retailers are experiencing a dramatic shift in purchasing trends.

Nearly 70 per cent of UK shoppers say they rarely purchase anything at full price, and 60 per cent claim they will always wait until a product is on offer.

While this may be the case, consumers are prepared to pay more for better quality and trade up for items that they really want.

Impulse shopping has dwindled as planned purchases have increased at the expense of shopping on a whim with 49 per cent of non-food expenditure now planned. Not only are consumers being more considered with their expenditure, but the rise of online has made it much easier to compare ranges and prices.

The variety of channels – stores, online, mobile, catalogue, available to consumers has risen significantly over the past decade and nearly one in two, or 45 per cent of shoppers say they now use three or four channels to shop (compared to one or two channels in 2002).

The three types of shop

There are three different styles of shopping trip undertaken by the UK Considered Consumer – the convenience, experience, and luxury shop.

The convenience shop – A short, efficient, and focused trip to purchase a few products. These excursions happen around once a week (22 per cent) or every two weeks (43 per cent). Average spend per convenience shop is £25 across all age groups. In 2013, convenience trips account for a total shopping value of £29 billion.

The experience shop – A trip in which more time is taken over the retail experience and coupled with a strong element of leisure, such as eating or going to the cinema. Most consumers (50 per cent) enjoy an experience shop every month or two and average spend is £57 across all age groups. In 2013, experience trips account for a total shopping value of £14 billion.

The luxury shop – Consumers seek to invest time and money in enjoying a premium retail experience. Thirty per cent of consumers tend go on a luxury excursion every six months, where average spend is £225. This rises to £355 for people aged 46 to 64, with men more likely to spend more on a luxury outing than women. In 2013, luxury shops accounted for a total shopping value of £10 billion.

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson said today’s considered Consumer holds the balance of power compared to the consumer of 10 years ago.

“Shoppers nowadays can choose the channel they wish to shop with, when they shop, the price they wish to pay, and they have a host of destination options.

“Retailers have to work harder than ever to attract this customer – they need to distinguish their brand and their value proposition and it’s essential to create compelling shopping environments both on and offline if they are to continue appealing to today’s consumer,” said Atkins.

“While retailers continue to adapt to changing consumer demand, we also have to continue to develop iconic destinations with engaging and sociable spaces. Across the three styles of
shopping, consumers are expecting more and it’s no longer just about shops. Our centres are increasingly moving towards entertainment centres, which need to excite and surprise shoppers on every visit.”

Neil Saunders, MD of Conlumino said the problem for retailers is that consumer’s abundance of products in modern times can create a complacency and boredom towards shopping.

“It’s much more difficult to excite people than it used to be,” said Saunders.

“One of the solutions is to understand that shopping is much more than about buying things, it’s about being entertained, having a day out, and about being inspired. The retailers and shopping destinations that react to this change are much more likely to generate footfall and build loyal shoppers who will visit again and again.”

Key findings:
•    49 per cent of non-food expenditure is now planned, compared to 15 per cent which are impulse buys

•   23 per cent say they have shopped more at value retailers in recent years and 18 per cent say they will revert to normal when the economy has improved

•   More than two thirds of consumers prefer using a combination of online and instore, with 12.5 per cent of shoppers regularly checking their phones to check prices when in store

•    10 years ago, the average purchase lasted more than half a day, and today, consumers take on average three and a half days to buy

•    Today people explore around 13 shops regularly, 10 years ago, this was an average of seven

•    53 per cent of consumers would like more departments stores in retail parks, 50 per cent would like more health and beauty, and 44 per cent and 40 per cent respectively would like more fashion and restaurants in retail parks

•    The lines between luxury, premium, mid-market, value and discount have become blurred. While the majority of consumers still recognise brands such as Harrods and Gucci as luxury, one in 10 considered consumers in the UK would describe M&S as luxury.

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