UK consumers are more likely to use e-commerce than make a trip to a brick-and-mortar store, according to new research from Tealeaf.

A survey of 2,071 adults found that when it comes to making a retail purchase the use of a laptop or desktop computer (83%) actually beats trips to a store (81%).

The difference is most noticeable among respondents aged 34-44 where the difference was 85% to 78% in favour of e-commerce.

It should be noted that the survey was carried out online, but the results have been weighted to try and eliminate any sample bias.

Tealeaf’s report examines which devices consumers use when researching and purchasing retail, travel, banking and financial services products.

It found that while brick-and-mortar stores are a popular research method for retail shoppers (75%), only around one in five consumers visit a high street travel agent when researching a holiday.

In comparison around 90% of respondents have used a desktop or laptop for travel research.

This tallies with a previous survey we conducted with Toluna Quick which found that 75% of travel research takes place online, while just 20% of respondents had visited a travel agent in person.

Mobile research

Across retail, travel and financial services the mobile web is used for research far more than to make purchases.

The Tealeaf report shows that smartphones play a particularly important role in retail shopping - a quarter (24%) of UK consumers have used their device to access the mobile web for research and 12% have previously made a purchase.

Respondents aged 25-34 proved to be the most likely to have made a retail purchase on their smartphone (29%) followed by 18-24 year olds (19%).

This supports data from a Tradedoubler survey which found that more than two-thirds (71%) of smartphone owners research products on their mobile, with 32% doing it on a weekly basis.

But when asked what they had done after researching products on their mobile, 38% of respondents said they completed a purchase in-store compared to 25% that made a purchase on their smartphone.

Websites accessed on a smartphone among all ages

In comparison, the report shows that smartphone apps are far less popular for research but aren’t too far behind the mobile web for conversions.

For example, 39% of 18-24s have used their smartphone to research a product on the mobile web compared to 19% who have used a smartphone app.

But when it comes to making a purchase the gap between the mobile web (19%) and smartphone apps (12%) is far less pronounced. This trend is repeated across the different age demographics.

More results from the Tealeaf survey can be found seen on this minisite.

David Moth

Published 1 November, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (3)

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

Following on from Comet's demise, are we fast approaching a tipping point in e-commerce?

almost 6 years ago


Kevin White

The fact that laptop or desktop computer use beats trips to a store as only a difference of 2% (83% vs. 81%) isn't a massive difference. Even the group that has the highest difference (aged 34-44) is only 85% vs. 78%. Add to this that the survey was carried out online (even if they have tried to weight to avoid bias) makes this research questionable at least.


almost 6 years ago


Rob Sellers

This is hugely flawed and at odds with a number of more credible research pieces published quite recently. Be careful if relying on this to create your business or marketing strategy.

almost 6 years ago

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