It is time for e-shoppers planning their Christmas purchases

By Derek Eccleston

The early signs for a strong-performing Christmas this year are good for retailers, as 96% of online consumers expect to make at least some of their Christmas purchases through retail websites, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG. The survey of 2,000 consumers also found that around 26% (or 1 in 4) of these will do more Christmas shopping online this year compared to the year before and marks the importance to retailers of having a strong online presence and easy-to-use website.

The results also found that 41% of smartphone owners will consider making Christmas purchases from their mobile devices this year, a number which has risen almost 20% in just 12 months. 73% of mobile shoppers expect to make more Christmas purchases from their smartphone, signalling the potential increase to profits that mobile-enabled sites and transactional apps have to offer retailers this Christmas.

71% of tablet owners will also consider doing some of their Christmas shopping from their tablet device as well this year. Results show that tablet ownership now stands at around 21% of UK online consumers following a big uptake since the introduction of new makes and models.

The study also found that around half (51%) of smartphone owners are already accessing the Internet from their mobile whilst out shopping on the high street, and half (50%) of these are taking the opportunity to visit retail websites. However, an additional 29% said that they would use their mobile more whilst out shopping if free wi-fi was readily available. Whilst some retailers are daunted by customers actively using their smartphones in-store, wary that it could lead to shoppers purchasing items at rival stores online, others, such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and John Lewis, are all offering their customers the chance to get online within their stores and embracing technology to help improve the overall multichannel customer experience.

These results demonstrate the need for retailers to provide shoppers with the ability to shop when, where and how they want. As online, mobile and tablet shopper numbers continue to rise, it is important for retailers to integrate technology into their high street presence. Retailers will never be able to stop shoppers from using their smartphones whilst out shopping, and whilst there will always be the threat of a customer choosing a cheaper, online competitor, by integrating this new technology into the high street, retailers will be able to offer a more rounded customer experience, increase overall satisfaction and, quite possibly, keep shoppers in stores for longer.

Andy Mulcahy, Head of Communications at IMRG, commented: “Mobiles have become an integral part of the engagement process between brands and consumers, and the roll-out of 4G is only going to increase the appeal and ease of accessing mobile internet on the move. Any specific physical retail location is, in essence, also a virtual showroom for every competitor that retailer has through a mobile device. The key to success is in generating a complete understanding of the potential customer, focusing all effort on providing the kind of experience that convinces a consumer to select your brand over the competitors’ offerings.”

Survey information

The eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) survey of 2,000 consumers was conducted between the 24th and 26th July 2012 using a nationally representative sample from a consumer omnibus panel.

About the author and eDigitalResearch

Derek Eccleston is Head of Research at eDigitalResearch.

eDigitalResearch are insight specialists with an expertise in online and multichannel business. We bring passionate researchers, technical experts and art designers together all under one roof to work with clients and create bespoke insight programmes. eDigitalResearch not only offer unrivalled digital research expertise and insight support, but state-of-the-art technology and innovation that works seamlessly with your systems and data across customer touch points. Our products and services help you to reach your customers no matter how they interact with businesses. For more information please visit or email

About IMRG

IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit or email

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