8/6/2008 11:00:00 AM
Consumers shun high street and retail parks to shop direct
Consumers are shunning the high street and retail parks in favour of finding deals online and through telesales, according to the latest figures from GfK.
The industry’s research firm revealed that high street contract phone sales dropped below 50% for the first time in the first quarter of this year, and has now fallen to 44%.
It has given telesales and online a 10% improvement against the high street compared with last year.
The shift has been attributed to the increased confidence among consumers shopping online, but more so the deal-seeking approach taken by many amid the current belt-tightening climate.
More contract phone customers are said to be responsive to cheap deals offered over the phone by networks.
Sim-only deals and discounted line-rental upgrade offers are believed to have accelerated the share of sales through telesales operations.
In contrast, figures from Experian’s Footfall Index shows a steady drop in the number of people visiting high street stores and retail parks since the start of the year.
Last month, town centre footfall dropped by 1.5% compared with the same period last year. Retail parks have been more significantly hit, with a 5.6% fall year-on-year.
Robin Goad, research director at Experian’s sister company, Hitwise, said that people were encouraged to shop at home due to the rising cost of petrol.
Operators’ and retailers’ higher value ‘web-only’ deals appear to be drawing customers in, and networks have increased attempts to cling on to customers with upgrade deals offered by their call centres. The success of the retention tactics has also added to the growth of the ‘non-retail’ sector this year.
The gain was made at the expense of network and specialist retailers whose share of contract sales both took a hit.
Mobile revealed earlier this month how operators and retailers are slowing down their store expansion plans, despite the offer of cheap deals from hard-pressed shopping centre and high street landlords.