The economic slowdown is having an adverse impact on high-street shopping, according to research conducted by Fujitsu Services, one of Europe’s leading IT services companies. Results reveal that consumers are reducing spending on the high-street but continuing to shop online.
Over half (53%) of those surveyed said they felt worse off (versus 19% better off) compared to this time last year. This means fewer monthly visits to the high-street and significant cutbacks, with over 51% spending less than last year. A decline in disposable income is impacting on consumer spending, with customers citing non-essential items such as clothes (49%), CDs and DVDs (37%) and books (29%) as areas for cutbacks. Spend on essential items such as groceries, fuel and toiletries remains stable.
In contrast, the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, with over 32% shopping more online this year compared to last. Key reasons cited include the 24x7 availability for online shopping (33%), ease of price comparison (31%) and online navigation (30%).
Commenting on the results, Sarah Kellett, retail industry consultant at Fujitsu Services said: “The results of the research should send out a warning shot to high-street retailers. The credit crunch will undoubtedly lead to a decline in consumers’ disposable income; this means retailers will have to compete harder for shopper pounds. Online shopping appears to be escaping relatively unscathed from the slowdown despite the fact that the goods people tend to buy more online are the ones shoppers are cutting back on, for example CDs, DVDs and books. High-street retailers need to address customer demandsfor convenience, range and overall shopping experience if they are to fit this new world of retailing.”
Sarah continues: “Retailers should be investing in in-store technologies that improve the customer shopping experience. Self-service checkouts, hand-held payment devices and queue management systems will address consumer demands for convenience, whilst kiosks and PDAs provide a solution to offer greater product and service information. A truly multi-channel approach that offers service choice and personalisation must surely be the way forward for the successful retailers of tomorrow.”
A tougher economic climate is benefiting the value retail stores, with over half (57%) of those polled stating they would buy clothes from a value store; 56% would buy groceries and 34% toiletries.
Notes to Editors:
1. Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Fujitsu Services
2. 3,000 consumers surveyed in May 2008
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