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News - 2 September 2006
No many shops but plenty of spending in the suburbs

Home shopping is booming in the leafy suburbs

High earning professionals living in the suburbs of major cities are proving to be big spenders when it comes to home shopping. They spend wisely and with discretion but they don’t hold back on the price if the merchandise is right.

A new report from Experian reveals a growing trend among high spending cultural leaders. These cash rich time poor style aficionados are taking to home shopping in a big way.

In 2005 it was Henley-on-Thames but this year Barnes, the affluent village in south west London, has spent more per head on catalogue and mail order goods than anywhere else in the UK.

Experian’s annual Club Canvasse Report maps out the UK’s Top 100 home shopping hotspots and reveals a stark North/South divide. It shows that Barnes’ wealthy style gurus spend £150 a year per head on home shopping for the latest clothing fashions, fine wines and home furnishings.

According to Experian’s consumer classification system, Mosaic UK, home shoppers from the suburbs of big cities fall into the ‘Cultural Leadership’ group.

These people:

  • Are primarily well-to-do professionals, living in traditional family units located in the exclusive suburbs of London and large provincial cities
  • Are assured, secure and very discriminating – spending their abundant wealth very carefully
  • Have little interest in the more brash aspects of contemporary consumer culture, but do spend large sums on goods and services which they perceive as having an understated, classic value
  • Do not boast or parade their wealth or their lives

Henley-on-Thames, last year’s home shopping hotspot, has been knocked off the top spot into second place with per capita spend falling from £136 to £125. At the other end of the spectrum, Crewkerne in Somerset is languishing the bottom of the table in 100th place with a per capita spend of just £67.

This year’s report exposes a huge gulf in catalogue and mail order spending between southern and northern towns. Ilkley in West Yorkshire and Dingwall in the Highlands are just two of the 10 towns in the North of England and Scotland to figure in the Top 100 home shopping hotspots, with the rest nudged completely out of contention by the Southern and Home Counties’ dominance.

Towns in Wales do not feature in the Top 100, but Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire is the highest-ranked town in 105th place with a per capita spend of £67. Furthermore, home shopping spend in Northern Ireland is just £21 per head – half of that in England.

Gillian Buttree, Home Shopping Consultant for Experian, stated, “Ten years ago, home shopping simply didn’t have the allure for wealthy urbanites and the rural elite.

“Fast-forward to 2006 and home shopping companies now offer a diverse range of high quality goods, which provide a welcome sanctuary for busy professionals who place high value on their leisure time and don’t want to necessarily spend it on the high street at the weekend.

“Whether it’s fine wines, expensive gifts or Jermyn Street shirts, the rise of Barnes and the dominance of the southern towns shows that today’s cash rich, time poor consumers are using home shopping more and more to satisfy their very discerning tastes.”

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