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Over 40% of shoppers in Northern Ireland use smartphone for shopping


Research: Graeme MacLaughlin

Research: Graeme MacLaughlin

Research: Graeme MacLaughlin

More Northern Ireland shoppers are choosing to buy goods using their smartphone than across the UK as a whole.

Around 41% of consumers use their phones to shop, compared with the UK average of 31%, according to a new survey from Barclays.

Shoppers in the region also say they buy just one-third of the products that they save to their shopping baskets online.

When asked what would encourage them to buy what they save to their baskets, 50% said free delivery would help.

Graeme MacLaughlin, relationship director for Barclays in Northern Ireland, said: “At a time when cost management is a priority, it’s understandable that investment in mobile optimisation may seem too expensive for many retailers.

“However, our research underlines the longer term benefit of providing easy to use options across all online platforms, particularly for shoppers in Northern Ireland.

“By adapting quickly to the needs of today’s consumer to create a better shopping experience online and particularly via mobile, retailers will boost their sales.

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“If they get their online strategy right, we could be looking at UK retailers selling more that £80bn of stock online by 2021, but that will only happen if, as an industry, we respond to what the public want from us.

“This research shows that a streamlined mobile offering is of particular importance in Northern Ireland, where the use of mobile and tablet devices is the highest in the UK.”

The research from Barclays is based on the views of 300 senior retail managers, 2,000 UK consumers and economic modelling.

It found that through investment in basic techniques, retailers in the UK could cut “basket abandonment”, where consumers don’t continue with purchasing an item, by 2021 and boost retailer profits by £10.5bn over the next five years.

Meanwhile, demand for autumn fashion and back-to-school clothes lifted retail sales last month despite shoppers facing persistent pressure from higher inflation.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed like-for-like sales rose 1.3% in August, rebounding from a 0.9% fall in 2016 when retailers suffered a blow from the Brexit vote. In Northern Ireland, high streets and retail parks took a battering in July, with footfall down by 2%.

That comes after another fall, a month earlier, according to the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) with Springboard.