Multi-channel consumers spend over 80 per cent more than store only shoppers

Shoppers who use the internet, catalogue or a contact centre before making a purchase spend 82 per cent more per transaction than a customer who only shops in store, according to new research from business advisory firm Deloitte

The average spend for multi-channel consumers across clothing, home and electrical categories is £116 per transaction compared with just £64 for store-only customers. 

The research also found that by value, 38 per cent of all retail transactions across the clothing, electrical and home sectors are now influenced by the internet, with 21 per cent coming from direct online purchases whilst 17 per cent are multi-channel transactions.  

In the West Midlands, 23 per cent of all retail transactions are influenced by the internet, compared to 40 per cent in the East Midlands – the highest in the UK.

Electricals is the most multi-channel category, with 62 per cent of transactions influenced by online, in comparison to 37 per cent of homeware purchases and 26 per cent of clothing transactions.  Multi-channel electricals consumers also spend the most.  On average, they spend £238 per transaction against £160 for those shopping in store.  Multi-channel homeware customers spend an average £143 against £83 in store, whilst it is much closer in clothing with multi-channel customers spending £65 per transaction against £52 in store.

Jane Whitlock, consumer business partner at Deloitte in Birmingham, said: “Multi-channel consumers are particularly well informed about the products they buy and this greater confidence is resulting in a higher value and a higher volume of purchases.

“Consumers have been relatively slow to switch to buying clothes online but as retailers improve their website’s visual merchandising and offer free and easy returns this is changing fast.  Clothing consumers in the 25 to 34 age range are the most multi-channel, with 27 per cent influenced by online.  This age group is served by some of the best online retailers and also tend to live their lives online via Smartphones and social networks. 

“The high value of multi-channel electrical purchases encourages the level of research in this sector.  These purchases are often more considered and just 26 per cent of electrical transactions take place without prior research.”

According to the Deloitte research, consumers from higher socioeconomic groups are more likely to be multi-channel shoppers, while men are more likely to be influenced by online than women and also tend to spend more per transaction.

Despite the increased use of the internet, catalogues remain an important element of shopping in the UK, with 11 per cent of web influenced homeware consumers and 12 per cent of clothing shoppers using catalogues for research purposes.

Ms Whitlock said: “There is no doubting the value and growing importance of multi-channel retail, but as well as presenting a huge opportunity to retailers it also gives more power to the consumer.

“With a greater proportion of sales moving online, retailers need to think about how to make the best use of their space.  Some are introducing new brands into existing space, others are migrating to the premium locations where demand is still high, while some will look to rationalise and reduce their floorspace.

“Retailers will also need to look at their investment plans.  As the UK retail industry faces a period of weaker demand and slower growth, multi-channel is an area where retailers have genuine opportunity to grow.  Operating across multiple channels is no longer something for the wish list, it is the cost of doing business.”  

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