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Data

BRC Smartphones

Retail search growth driven by smartphones

The latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google points to a significant spike in retail-related online searches in 2Q17, driven by smartphone users.

In the UK, retail search volumes on smartphones increased 26% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

For all devices across the UK, search volumes maintained year-on-year growth of 7% in the second quarter of 2017.

Interestingly, beauty was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices, reporting growth of 42% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Apparel remained a popular sector for overseas consumers on mobile devices, increasing 38% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Estonia continued to demonstrate the strongest appetite for UK retailers, reporting a 77% growth on mobile devices in Q2 2017 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The growth of UK retail searches online in the second quarter of 2017 remains unchanged on the previous year, although smartphones are increasingly becoming the dominant device for online browsing and therefore the main contributor to this growth. The increase in mobile search volumes over this period is consistent with the upward trend in online non-food sales growth.

“Beauty brands in particular continue to attract interest from overseas as well as UK consumers, which put the category firmly at the top of the growth rankings. It would appear that this could have translated to some extent into product sales, as health and beauty products ranked second highest in online sector performance over the three-month period.”

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i.LEVEL launches new Customer Returns Section

UK fashion wholesale and concessions software specialist i.LEVEL has launched its new Customer Returns Section, designed specifically to help fashion brands deal with ever increasing volumes of customer returns.

The new service covers wholesale retailers as well as ecommerce and offers a full returns capability.

A key advantage is that it lets fashion brands identify individual customers alongside the reason for each item’s return. This is important in order to detect whether the problem rests with the consumer (in terms of garment size and personal preferences) rather than a fault with the item itself at the source of production.

If found faulty, i.LEVEL’s Customer Returns Section allocates it directly back to the factory concerned.

Another feature is a reporting structure which lets a fashion brand analyse hundreds of returns in one data sweep. This helps identify key patterns in returns and empowers a fashion brand to quickly implement solutions especially if one single supplier is at fault.

Leif Roenn, CEO of i.LEVEL, says: “High levels of customer returns have been near the top of fashion brands’ list of concerns for a number of years now and the problem has got a lot worse with the huge growth in fashion ecommerce.

“Fashion experiences the highest rate of returns across any industry, with 57% of online shoppers returning clothing in the last 12 months. Our solution will help fashion brands address this issue, not least because it records the reasons behind a return and allows brands to rectify production errors sooner rather than later.”

www.ilevelsoftware.co.uk

Shopping

BRC: Shopper visits through March 2017 a “reassuring sign for retailers”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and retail intelligence specialists Springboard have released figures covering the five weeks 26th February – 1st April, showing retail footfall in March grew 1.3% on the previous year, the fastest growth since 2014.

The figure was above the three-month average of -0.2%, although March 2016 included Easter Sunday when many retailers were closed, while the 2017 figure does not and effectively adds one more day’s footfall to the period.

The high street saw the greatest percentage of footfall growth: 1.7%, followed by retail parks at 1.4% and shopping centres at 0.2%. The steepest decline in footfall occurred in Northern Ireland, which fell by 3.7%, followed by the South West at 2.3%.

“Shopper visits increased to all retail destinations in March, resulting in the fastest annual growth in footfall for three years,” commented Helen Dickinson, OBE, chief executive BRC. “This is partly owed to the exclusion of Easter Sunday from the period, which therefore benefits from an additional shopping day. But even looking beyond the distortion, the positive growth across most of the country is a reassuring sign for retailers.

“The high street continues to outperform shopping centres and retail parks, for the second consecutive month. Disappointingly though, this didn’t translate into retail sales, which were down in March on the previous year. Now that the Easter holidays have arrived, the challenge for retailers will be to attract this greater number of high street visitors into their stores.”

Diane Wehrle, Marketing and insights director, Springboard, added: “March definitely provided a break in the clouds, with the +1.3% rise in footfall breaking a six-month consecutive decline and the +0.2% increase in footfall in shopping centres being the first since January 2016. Whilst some of the +1.3% may have been a consequence of the loss of a trading day last year due to an early Easter, the impact of this shift should not be overstated as it will have been mitigated by increased trade on the other days over the Easter trading period.

“Indeed, if anything it is more evidence of the continuing structural shift in the use of retail destinations for leisure and hospitality trips. Virtually all of the increase in footfall in March was derived from the post 5pm period while footfall during the trading hours of 9am to 5pm dropped –by just -0.5% in high streets, but much more significantly, by -7.1%, in shopping centres. Indeed, the worsening of consumer confidence and inflation from last year is likely to be constraining shoppers’ willingness to spend on retail goods. This all lends further evidence to the fact that retail is no longer the sole driver of footfall, with a strong leisure/hospitality offer being a critical element to secure retail success.”

www.brc.org.uk

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eCommerce Christmas sales expected to hit over £16bn in the UK…

The data and market research company, eMarketer, has predicted that UK retail eCommerce sales will reach an estimated £16.9 billion during the ‘core’ season shopping period of November and December; an increase from the £14.65 billion recorded in 2015 and the rising use of consumers making purchases via their smartphones considered a major contributor to eMarketer’s predictions.

According to analysis, the smartphone medium will account for 36.4 per cent of total retail mCommerce (mobile commerce) sales for the whole of 2016, and by the year 2020, total mCommerce sales is estimated to reach 52 per cent.

Senior analyst at eMarketer, Bill Fisher said: “Retail ecommerce sales during the festive season look set to shine this year, despite the wider economic conditions in the UK. This is in no small part due to a digitally advanced consumer, who has been quick to embrace digital buying and particularly smartphone buying. And during the Christmas shopping period, these digital habits become even more accentuated.”

 

Read more from eMarketer here

WHICH MICROSITE

Supermarkets need to take action against obesity, says Which?

The consumer rights watchdog, Which?, is urging supermarkets to ‘do their part’ in the fight against obesity, as new data collected by mySupermarket shows that, of the 77,165 promotions where nutritional data was available, more than half (53 per cent) were on less healthy foods.

Further analysis of the data – which looked at the balance of healthy and less healthy promotions available in ASDA, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose between April 1 and June 30, 2016 –- also found 52 per cent of confectionery was on offer compared to just one third of fresh fruit and vegetables (30 per cent and 34 per cent respectively). In addition, seven in ten (69 per cent) of soft drinks that would fall under the government’s proposed sugar tax (more than 8 per cent sugar) were also on promotion.

Director of Campaigns and Policy at Which?, Alex Neill, commented on the results: “Everybody has to play their part in the fight against obesity and people want supermarkets to offer more promotions on healthier foods and yet our research found the opposite. It’s time for supermarkets to shift the balance of products they include in price promotions and for all retailers to get rid of temptation at the till by taking sweets off the checkout.”

In a separate study, Which? found 29 per cent of people claim to find it difficult to eat healthier food as they believe it is more expensive than less healthy alternatives; proving to be the top reason provided for not eating more healthily.

Moreover, 51 per cent said supermarkets should include healthier choices in promotions to make it easier for people to choose healthier food. This was the top action consumers wanted from supermarkets, followed by the production of healthier options at cheaper prices (49 per cent) as well as creating foods with less fat, sugar and salt content (49 per cent).