Why shoppers still love the high street

Reports of the death of the high street have been exaggerated according a new study of consumer behaviour.

The Modern Consumer is a new piece of research conducted by market research agency Lightspeed on behalf of BookingBug. Researchers found that while 95% of UK consumers now use multiple channels when shopping, only 15% of shoppers mainly shop online.

In fact, the data shows that bricks and mortar stores are still the main shopping channel for 45% of consumers in the UK.

However, the findings also show that shoppers are making increasingly complex customer journeys - with 71% saying they browse online before going to buy products in store. Meanwhile, 51% do the opposite - doing their window shopping in person before going home to order online (having initially browsed online in some cases).

Glenn Shoosmith, ceo of BookingBug, said: "People have been writing about online shopping nibbling away at the revenues of offline retailers for years. Yet, as any retailer worth their salt understands, the two channels aren't exclusive. In fact more and more often shoppers are switching between the two."

The report also found that 44% of consumers said going to a store gave them "the best sense of a company" while only 15% could say they got the same experience from an company's website.

"It's clear these physical locations played a key role in helping customers understand a brand's identity, as well as providing key information about products and services," said Shoosmith. "It's time for retailers to reconsider how we engineer the in-store experience, and focus it on the customers where it really makes a difference."

The report also warns that there may be an online sales plateau on the horizon. It says that while about a third of consumers increased their online spend in the past year, up to 76% expect it remain the same in the next 12 months.

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