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News - 27 October 2007

What makes shoppers shop from home?

A recent study conducted by Experian indicates that the highest concentration of home shoppers is to be found in London’s commuter belt. A number of interesting conclusions about the motivators for home shopping and aversion to high street shopping can be drawn from this result.

According to the research Sunningdale’s wealthy residents are spending more on home shopping goods than anyone else in the UK. Sunningdale’s rapid ascendancy sees it join 65 other commuter towns in the UK’s Top 100 home shopping locations for 2007 – signalling a new trend as busy workers turn to catalogues and the Internet for their retail fix.

According to Experian’s annual analysis of the UK’s home shopping landscape, Sunningdale has leapt from 22nd place in 2006 to this year’s pole position.

According to Mosaic UK, Experian’s consumer classification system, Sunningdale’s residents fall into its ‘Cultural Leaders’ group. Characteristics of this group include:

An elite type in terms of income and wealth, employment, social position, security and influence. Very often, both men and women classed as ‘Cultural Leaders’ are powerful decision makers and opinion leaders in the private sector, but particularly so in public service.

While the presence of family requires conventional shopping in up-market supermarkets such as Waitrose and Sainsbury's, they also make considerable use of the Internet in general, and for shopping in particular.

Experian suggests that three factors are influencing the home shopping ‘flick to click’ phenomenon – where consumers browse catalogues and go online to make their purchases:

  • The Commuter belt
  • Broadband penetration
  • The Tesco Effect

The commuter belt - avoiding shopping till they drop… Out of the 100 highest spending towns in the UK, two thirds (66) are situated within commutable distance of London. Furthermore, in the Top 50 locations, 68% consist of towns in the home counties.

Experian suggests that today’s busy workers are using home shopping to get their retail fix instead of hitting the high street at lunchtime or after work. With goods available online and able to be delivered to the home or office address, home shopping’s flexibility is a key factor in this trend and one Experian expects to see continue.

Broadband penetration - According to research from Office of National Statistics in August 2007[1], 56% of households in the southern half of the UK have broadband access (the highest household rate in the UK). In the Top 100 home shopping locations, 77% are situated in the south. Experian suggests that on cross-referencing this figure with the number of commuting towns (predominantly in the South) the link between the two emerges.

Given the ‘flick to click’ boom, Experian believes that falling broadband prices will continue to benefit brands with an online home shopping capability. Being able to order online is a critical success factor and being able to do it quickly and easily is where broadband clearly plays to this model. Furthermore, more affordable broadband means that mail order and high-street stalwarts may ‘see the light’ and choose to do their shopping online when prices get within their reach.

The Tesco Effect - While it is clear that home shopping’s success is being fuelled by integrated online and offline marketing, Experian believes that another factor has contributed to the model’s mass appeal over the last year – Tesco Direct.

When Tesco launches multi-million pound advertising campaign just to publicise its latest catalogue, it will reach entirely new audiences, ie those people who might not have even considered home shopping as an option. Experian regards Tesco’s entry into the market to be excellent news for the home shopping sector. In short, a huge brand name taking home shopping to the masses – using a ‘flick to click’ strategy as its preferred route.

Mark Peacock, Home Shopping Consultant for Experian Integrated Marketing, commented: “The very people who now use home shopping the most are those that a decade ago wouldn’t have given it a second look. Cheaper broadband, people working longer hours and major brands getting in on the home shopping act are what’s driving the phenomenon. It’s now easier to get your retail fix at home, whatever your tastes. It won’t have gone unnoticed amongst retailers that home shopping’s in the midst of a revival that doesn’t look like ending. In the next year we think it’s inevitable that we’ll see more high-street brands adopting ‘flick to click’ strategies. It’s too good an opportunity for them to simply


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