Online shopping to account for £1 in every £7 spent by 2018

online shopping

The online retail industry will be worth £50bn in 2018 as the rapid growth in spending through smartphones and tablets continues, retail consultancy Verdict said.

The research is the latest evidence of the increasing dominance of online shopping and the challenge facing Britain’s high streets.

At present, consumers spend around one pound in every ten online, including food and non-food retail, according to the Office of National Statistics.

However, Verdict said that the growth in smartphone and tablet ownership has move online shopping into the living room, increasing consumers’ enjoyment of using the internet.

Its survey of 10,000 shoppers found only 4pc more people considered shopping in stores to be more enjoyable than online, a significant fall on the 25pc gap reported 18 months ago.

Men and shoppers aged between 35 and 54 years old already find online shopping more enjoyable than visiting the high street or a shopping centre.

Patrick O’Brien, lead analyst at Verdict, said: “Rather than push online spend outdoors, the rapid adoption of touch screen tablets and smartphones has moved online shopping into the living room.

“67pc said they shopped from their living room, indicating that second screening, browsing websites while watching TV, has had a major impact.

“This, together with the ability to browse on smartphones wherever you are, and social media, has made online shopping a much more immersive and interactive experience than it was only a few years ago, when more shoppers tended to be restricted to desktops typically located away from the living room.”

Verdict said that it was a “myth” that the rise of mobile shopping has led to consumers buying products from a retailer while in the store of a rival company. According to its research, only 2pc of online shoppers have bought a product while in a store, while 97pc shop at home.

“Rather than making consumers agnostic about where they make their purchases, smartphones and tablets are used in stores mainly to check prices and product details,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The idea that showrooming customers are wielding their smartphones in stores to purchase from rival retailers en masse is a myth.”

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