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Survey suggests online shopping trumps high street

17 December 2012 - 10:40 by Simon Crisp

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A study of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by SDL has suggested that purchases made via safe shopping online might outstrip the high street, for the first time ever in the run up to Christmas 2012.

Just over fifty four per cent of respondents said that they were going to be using the internet to buy the majority of their Christmas presents this year, as opposed to the 40 per cent who said that bricks and mortar outlets would be their first port of call for festive shopping.

The remaining proportion of those questioned said that they would be ordering gifts from catalogues or using TV shopping channels to get the job done.

This means that safe shopping online is the present-buying conduit of choice for the majority of people, at least from the section surveyed.

Unsurprisingly, there is more willingness to use the high street amongst those of older generations, with 54.8 per cent of people aged over 55 preferring real world stores to e-commerce outlets.

However, there is clearly an overwhelming trend towards using the web to buy products, particularly during the Christmas period, when high street shopping can become a bit of a stressful crush.

On average, almost seven per cent of respondents said that they would be shopping for presents while they are at work, although this rises to 11.6 per cent when looking only at 24 to 35-year-olds.

Online prices were cited by 36.8 per cent as being the main reason for using e-commerce sites, while 30.9 per cent said that they valued the ability to shop from home that is afforded by web-based retailers.

Of course, this is not the only study into the matter and others have found that the high street is still slightly more popular. It is clear, however, that we are nearing a point when online shopping will become dominant.