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E-commerce thrives but PC-based sales fall

25 February 2014 - 14:15 by Mike Price

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While there is much talk of decline on the high street, it seems that PCs are suffering an even worse decline in consumer activity, as people now choose to carry out safe shopping online from smartphones and tablets in greater numbers than ever before.

A new report from PwC, found that e-commerce purchases made from desktop and laptop PCs were down by seven per cent last year, while high street sales fell by just five percent, indicating that shoppers are abandoning traditional computers faster than bricks and mortar stores.

Meanwhile, the adoption of portable devices, which let people participate in shopping online whether they are at home on the sofa watching the TV or out and about with a wireless connection available, has increased.

Report spokesperson, Matthew Tod, said that consumers are guided in their retail habits by what approach is most convenient to them at any given time. It used to be that high street shopping was the best way to get access to goods, but then e-commerce emerged, making the home PC an emerging force in the market.

Now even PCs are becoming somewhat obsolete, because tablets and smartphones are that bit easier to harness.

The number of people using tablets to shop online was up by 56 per cent last year, with 46 per cent more sales being channelled through smartphones.

While there is still some way to go before these devices are ubiquitously used, the sense at the moment is that e-commerce will be influenced by them to a greater degree than PCs for the foreseeable future.

Over a third of people in the UK make an online purchase at least once a week, according to the report, while two thirds of e-commerce fans said that they shopped via the web because of the lower prices available to them.