Two in five shoppers 'use mobile phone to find best deal while on high street'
Christmas shoppers are going online to help find bargains, with many now doing so while in-store to check if they can get a better deal elsewhere, a new survey suggests.
According to research by mobile network giant EE, 41% of shoppers use mobiles to find the best deal while they are on the high street, a practice known as "showrooming".
Almost three quarters of shoppers (74%) said they preferred to browse products online rather than look around a physical store, while 79% said they researched deals online before buying anything.
Shoppers in London and Newcastle were found to be the most likely to showroom, with 47% of those in both cities admitting to using their phone to do so while out. Manchester, York and Birmingham completed the top five.
Shoppers in Norwich, Belfast and Bristol were found to be the least likely to showroom.
Jeremy Spencer, EE's head of corporate products, said: "The practice of showrooming isn't going away. It's understandable that the threat of showrooming preys on retailers' minds, particularly during such an important shopping season as Christmas."
Mr Spencer also suggested retailers could use the trend to their advantage
"Retailers actually have a significant opportunity to both engage and retain showrooming customers," he said.
"Encouraging customers to look up additional information on products in-store using free Wi-Fi, offering a mobile app with digital loyalty schemes and, as our research indicates, offering to match prices found online can not only prevent showrooming in the short term, but can help keep customers coming back.
"Additionally, providing tablets for customers to use in-store allows people to browse online product ranges, helping to keep purchases in-store."
Online shopping site Amazon was found to be the most popular app among shoppers, followed by eBay and Tesco.
A report by retail experts at the beginning of this year suggested that sales from online shopping would reach more than £52 billion in 2015, and be worth 15% of all retail sales in the UK.