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Trouble for high street as mobile shopping changes the picture Image

Trouble for high street as mobile shopping changes the picture

Thursday 1st August, 2013

Online shopping is a huge industry now – about one in every ten retail purchases in the UK is done via the internet.

But while the online sector is growing at a rapid rate as consumers take advantage of cheap offers and web-based daily deals, what is the future for Britain's embattled high street?

The answer would be not a very good one. It seems that whatever high street stores do to attract customers, online retailers are always one step ahead.

An overwhelming majority of consumers in the UK believe that the high street must make drastic changes in order to survive in the face of severe online competition, according to research carried out by Manhattan Associates.

They note that online only retailers have a big advantage when it comes to choice and price.

And it seems the online sector has a trump card up its sleeve – mobile shopping.

Mobile sales accounted for 20 per cent of all online purchases in the first three months of 2013 – up from 15 per cent in the previous quarter.

According to IMRG, this surge is likely to have been down to the huge increase in tablet-owners following strong sales of the devices over Christmas.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: "Mobile is clearly a game-changer for the UK e-retail industry, with m-retail sales increasing at more than double the levels we saw in the early 2000s when IMRG started tracking online sales."

She says the permanent shift away from laptops and PCs to tablets and smartphones could happen even sooner than expected, driving even more mobile sales.

Chris Webster from Capgemini, which helps compile the data, commented: "The mobile device will be the aggregator of all digital services, enabling the internet to recognise who we are and to give us access to an endless list of personal features.

"As we access all these services digitally, tickets, boarding passes, keys, payment and loyalty cards, and even passports, will become to us what typewriters are to my children; objects of intrigue and amusement."

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