The internet-connected smartphone appears to be revolutionising the way consumers shop on the high street, according to new research conducted by mobile network EE.
Showrooming is the practice where shoppers use their mobile phone to check for better prices, while shopping in-store and on the high street. Of those polled, 41% admitted to showrooming, which with a UK adult population of 55 million (16 years old and over) could convert to 22 million people.
This Christmas, showrooming has been most common among the 18-34 age group where 58% admit to showrooming. Showroomers are most prevalent in Newcastle and London, with 47% of shoppers admitting to the practice.
This is closely followed in the cities of Manchester, York, Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Brighton, where more than 40% of shoppers are showrooming. Showroomers are least active in Belfast and Norwich but even there 36% and 33%, respectively, of shoppers admit to showrooming.
Research suggests that there is a broader product range available in online stores, so to find the best products and deals shoppers choose to shop online.
EE’s research indicates that 74% of shoppers prefer online browsing and shopping over visiting a retailer’s physical store. With the Christmas crowds and lengthy queues this figure is hardly surprising but 36% of those polled said they would prefer to shop online whenever and wherever possible.
79% of shoppers search for the best deals online before buying anything, with the most commonly used shopping apps being those of Amazon, used by 82% of showroomers. The eBay app that is used by 53% of showroomers and the Tesco app that isn’t far behind at 28%.
For high street retailers, more focus is needed on offering customer loyalty schemes, price-matching and the option to buy online in-store. Until then shoppers will continue to use price comparison websites to get a better deal.
EE’s research identified that 56% of shopper would shop more in-store if price matching was offered, while 43% of shoppers still prefer to shop on the high street, as there is no waiting time before a delivery can be made.
Shoppers can avoid the hectic Christmas high street altogether and compare the latest deals on mobile phones with Mobilephones.com.
Written by: Michael Brown