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Over half of Brits believe ecommerce is cheaper than physical retail, data reveals

Tom Shearsmith
17 November 2022

Over half of Brits believe ecommerce is cheaper than physical retail, a sentiment that is set to impact shopping behaviours this Christmas, according to data from consumer and location intelligence specialist CACI.

Through a survey, CACI discovered that whilst 56% of respondents perceived online as cheaper, 36% said they would shop more in-store this Christmas.

The value of physical retail has been previously confirmed by CACI’s ‘online halo’ research, showing that many brands experience a meaningful uplift in online sales within a store’s catchment – for example CACI has seen Zara’s online market share is 43% higher around its city centre stores.

CACI also found that more than 50% plan to visit the same stores as the previous year, highlighting the value of developing customer loyalty, and the need to convert this into spend with exclusive in-store deals, events, and flash sales.

CACI also asked whether consumers are starting Christmas shopping earlier this year. Results showed that 36% have already begun and are looking to spread the burden over multiple pay checks, particularly those with lower incomes.

A potential consequence of the rising cost of living could be strong footfall in November and December, but lower basket size than might be expected during the festive period.

Hannah Smith, Managing Consultant at CACI, commented: “Whether it is a misconception or not, the general sentiment is that online shopping is cheaper than physical retail. Among the lasting impacts of Covid, we’ve seen greater channel fluidity for shoppers, with the boundaries between online and offline increasingly blurred. This might be why this perception exists – a new audience has taken to online shopping, where sales are a click away and take very little research or hunting.

“But the magic of the shopping in store remains undimmed, especially as we approach Christmas and the appetite for experience and gift-giving it brings. Whilst we may anticipate more transactions online, 58% enjoy the experience of the in-person shop, even if they go on to transact online. So there are two key lessons: first, do not ignore the value of your online halo; and second, building customer loyalty now will absolutely benefit retailers in the long-run.”

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