In-store channel resilient as shoppers tighten belts finds survey

9th January 2018

More than half of UK consumers now describe themselves as ‘cost-conscious’ buyers, according to a survey by audit, tax and consulting group RSM.

The survey of more than 2,000 adult consumers also found that shoppers prefer to buy many products – such as clothes, shoes, homeware and beauty products – in-store, rather than online.

“Whilst cost-consciousness presents a growing theme as the economic squeeze continues, our findings illustrate encouraging signs for retailers in 2018, particularly those with a high street presence,” says RSM partner and head of retail Andrew Westbrook.

“Despite the irrepressible rise of online retail, demand for the high street remains extremely resilient, as our findings suggest,” adds Westbrook. “We predict that an engaging store presence on a high street that presents the right mix, is going to continue to drive sales both in store and online. The all-important 20-35 year-old demographic are stereotyped for being glued to their smartphones, but the reality is different. Millennials make most of their purchases offline – with the youngest of this age group, those aged 20-23 most likely to make a purchase in a store. We expect to see the continuation of the trend of online retailers opening select physical stores in 2018.”

Retailers support the findings. JoJo Maman Bébé finance director Hannah Heath says, “This year we’ve invested heavily in our online platform. As such we’ve seen a marked upswing in online sales. Conversely, and perhaps less predictably, has been our in-store trading performance - phenomenal during periods, and resilient overall. We have seen a 4 per cent like for like growth on in-store sales over the past six months. We expect to see a similar growth pattern over the second half of our financial year.”