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New ecommerce stats highlight the growing importance of reserve and collect services, with 40% of UK consumers using such services over Christmas. 

Econsultancy's Christmas 2012 Online Shopping Survey, produced using Toluna's online survey tool, polled 1,000 UK and 1,000 US online consumers on their shopping habits. 

It looks at attitudes to online delivery, use of mobiles and tablets for shopping, and the role of the web in the research and purchase process. It was conducted online, so we can assume that respondents are reasonably tech-savvy. 

Some highlights from the survey after the jump...

The importance of click and collect

Reserve and collect services are a great weapon for the multichannel retailer. It fits with consumers' research patterns, it allows online retailers to sell closer to Christmas Day, and it helps to drive customers into stores. 

What's more, retailers that have adopted it are driving a significant proportion of sales by using click and collect. Here's just two: 

  • Check and Reserve accounted for 29% of Argos' £819m sales in Q1 2012.
  • Halfords introduced a click and collect service two years ago, and now 86% of all its online sales are for in-store collection. 

Despite its obvious success, some multichannel retailers have yet to offer the service. A recent study found that half of the UK's top 50 online retailers don't offer reserve and collect.

The results from our survey should help to convince some of these retailers. 40% used onine reservation over Christmas, which highlights comsumer demand. 

Q: Did you reserve any items online for in-store collection this Christmas? (1,000 UK respondents)


There is a massive difference between the US and UK in take up of ‘reserve and collect’ services. While popular with Brits (40% used them over Christmas), take up in the US is much lower, at 17%. 

Q: Did you reserve any items online for in-store collection this Christmas? (1,000 UK and 1,000 US respondents)

I asked Linda Bustos, who writes the excellent Get Elastic blog why there may be such a difference in take up of these services: 

Amazon and other pureplays may represent a higher proportion of shopping, with no ship to store option. Also, many US stores may have been offering free shipping, negating the benefit of going to the store to pick it up to save costs (whilst battling for parking and enduring line ups).

I actually did do an in-store collect this year and it was not a good experience. I ordered several books (from the long tail) available from my local book chain, and they all came at separate times (I did not realize the first visit would only have 1 of the books waiting for me), and I had to find parking and stand in a huge lineup to collect them.

Online delivery

As I discussed in a recent post, delivery remains a problem for online retailers, as great online customer experiences can be undermined by hassles in actually receiving products. 

The good news from the survey is that 87% of consumers received their orders when promised, but that does leave an unsatisfied minority. 

Q: Did your orders arrive when retailers said they would? (1,000 UK respondents)

Delivery problems, while not always the retailer's fault, nonetheless represent a threat to their retention rates, as customers are likely to hold them responsible for any hassles. 

The following chart should be a worry to retailers, as 59% say they would abandon a retailer which failed to meet its delivery promises. 

Q: If a retailer failed to deliver on time, would you shop with them again? (1,000 UK respondents)

As well as working hard to ensure reliable delivery services, retailers should also look at the range of delivery options they are offering. 

In the run up to Christmas especially, retailers which offer more convenient (and fast) delivery options can gain an edge over rivals and, in the case of retailers like Amazon, sell right up to Chrismas Eve. 

24% avoided an online purchase as delivery options didn't suit them. Now, this could be a lack of express delivery options, or failing to offer more convenient options such as one or two hour delivery slots. 

Q: Did you avoid making an online purchase due to a lack of convenient delivery options? (1,000 UK respondents)

A signigicant minority of consumers are willing to pay a premium for speedier and more convenient delivery options. 4% did pay extra for such services this Christmas, while 26% said they would pay more for one hour or same day delivery. 

Q: Would you have paid extra to have an item delivered on the same day, or during a specific one-hour window? (1,000 UK respondents)

For example, Amazon offers same day evening delivery, though this is mainly confined to Greater London and a few other major cities. 

As users demand more delivery options, this is one way retailers can catch extra orders from customers, especially in the run up to Christmas. 

Spending patterns

Christmas shopping continues to move online. 69% of respondents chose to carry out the majority of their Christmas shopping online, while 20% shopped exclusively on the web. 

Q: How much of your Christmas shopping was done online this year? (1,000 UK respondents)


For more stats, you can download the full version of our Christmas Shopping survey. It's free for Bronze members  and above. 

Graham Charlton

Published 15 January, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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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

The good news from the survey is that 87% of consumers received their orders when promised, but that does leave an unsatisfied minority.

almost 4 years ago

Gray Sycamore

Gray Sycamore, Chief Strategy Officer at Mobileize

The high street is far from dead.
We developed a click and collect platform around Argos stores pre-christmas and our data certainly backs this research up. http://argos.mobileize.co.uk

almost 4 years ago

Natalie Green

Natalie Green, PR Officer at Postcode Anywhere

We found very similar findings in our recent ecommerce report: http://ow.ly/gRvkM The conclusion is obvious; retailers must embrace this multi-channel approach if they wish engage with their customers.

almost 4 years ago

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