Internet shopping threatens the high street

This festive season will see an increasing number of shoppers shunning traditional retail stores by purchasing more than half of their presents on the Internet.

A survey conducted by Fujitsu Services, a leading IT services firm in Europe, has warned high street retailers that they stand to lose out to online technology unless they reinvent themselves.

The survey suggests that increasing numbers of UK consumers are migrating to e-commerce sites, citing the convenience, lack of crowds and no queues as reasons for shopping from home. 73% of the of the 2,500 people surveyed by specialists OnePoll said they enjoyed shopping from home or work and 76% liked having no crowds to deal with.

Only 39% had fears about security and less than a quarter were worried about not knowing which websites to trust. 13 per cent said they wouldn’t buy anything on the Internet this festive season, whereas around a third of respondents said that the majority of their purchases would be made online.

However, it’s not all bad news for high street retailers as many respondents revealed they still enjoy the festive spirit and Christmas atmosphere when getting out among the crowds in the lead up to the big day. 63 per cent said they preferred the chance to touch and feel the product, while 46 per cent expressed doubt that their online purchases would arrive in time.

Sarah Kellett, retail industry consultant at Fujitsu Services, commented; “With the Internet creating increasingly convenience hungry consumers, high street retailers need to adapt their offering and focus on the customer experience in order to continue to attract Christmas shoppers”.

Kelett suggested that retailers fight back by providing services that the Internet could not offer, such as the Christmas in-store atmosphere, multi-media presentations on shop floors and knowledgeable staff on hand.