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Summer retail footfall declines, says BRC

Uk retail footfall declined by 2.9% in June, compared to the same point last year when it declined by 0.9%.

According to the latest British Retail Consortium & Springboard data, on a three-month basis footfall decreased by 2.4%. The six and twelve–month averages are at -1.3% and -1.7% respectively.

Meanwhile, High Street footfall declined by 4.5%, following from the increase of 0.1% in June last year. The three-month average decline is 3.5%.

Retail Park footfall increased by 0.1%, following from June 2018 when footfall decreased by 0.4%. The three-month average growth is 0.5%.

Shopping Centre footfall declined by 2.4%, following June 2018’s decline of 3.4%. The three-month average decline was 2.7%.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Poor footfall this June led to a significant fall in the sales figures for the month. High streets were worst hit by the relatively poor June weather, with shopping centres also performing badly, however, retail parks managed to buck the trend. Last year’s World Cup and glorious sunshine set a high bar, which 2019’s slow consumer spending and Brexit uncertainty failed to live up to.

“High streets and shopping centres across the country need to invest in improving their consumer experience if they wish to see these footfall numbers reverse. Unfortunately, high business rates, as well as a raft of other public policy costs, mean there is little left over to spend on these improvements. If the Government wants to see more investment on the high street then they must reform the broken business rates system and give firms the means to make the necessary improvements.”

Diane Wehrle, Springboard Marketing and Insights Director, said: “The drop in footfall in June of -2.9% is disappointing; it was much more severe than the -0.9% drop in June last year and takes the rolling three month average to -2.4% versus -1.5% in 2018.

“However, given the exceptional and ongoing disruptive political and economic period we are facing coupled with unprecedented structural changes in the retail sector, we might actually expect consumer activity to have taken an even greater hit.  In reality, the drop in footfall of -1.4% for the year to date is still an improvement on the drop of -2.1% over the same period last year, so in context footfall performance has shown more resilience over the year to date than expected.

“It was clearly high streets and shopping centres that bore the brunt of consumers railing back on their shopping trips, whilst retail parks maintained their customer base.  However, whilst footfall in high streets across the UK dropped by -4.5% in June, the continuing and growing demand from consumers for experience meant that in regional cities – which by virtue of the sheer breadth and depth of their offer means they can deliver on experience – footfall was far more resilient, declining only very marginally by -0.6%. 

“And the same rule of ‘experience delivering results’ also applies for shopping centres.  Whilst footfall in shopping centres across the UK declined by -2.4% in June, in the largest centres of more than half a million sq ft the drop was just -0.5%, and only -0.1% in those largest centres with a strong dining offer.  So it is clear that consumer demand is polarised between convenience and accessibility provided so effectively by retail parks, and consumers’ craving for experience, driving them towards larger retail destinations.”

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

UK’s most resilient town centres revealed

Cambridge as been ranked as the UK’s most resilient retail location outside of London, followed by Bristol and Guildford.

The data has been published as part of FM provider Cushman & Wakefield’s annual UK Town Centres – What’s Next? report, which analyses the performance of 250 town centres since the start of the financial crisis.

The data is based on 24 economic, demographic and retail property metrics, and highlights the evolving role of the UK’s town centres. 

In 2019, the report has found a clear correlation between ‘shopper mission’ and town centre vitality.

For example, as consumers become more mobile and less reliant on physical retail shops, expectations are changing. Cushman & Wakefield says these missions generally fall into one of three categories: 

  • large destination, or experience orientated visits, 
  • purpose shopping that is focused on specific purchases, and 
  • community-based convenience trips. 

The report asserts that retail locations that do not align with at least one of these key missions will need to repurpose to remain relevant.

In the 2019 rankings, Bristol’s has leaped forward, rising from 9th to 2nd to sit behind Cambridge, which kept the top spot it claimed in 2018. The Top is rounded out by Guildford, Exeter and Oxford, respectively.

“The towns within our top 10 are navigating the fast pace of change best and offering visitors a variety of reasons to keep coming back,” said Amy Gibson, Retail Analyst at Cushman & Wakefield.

Image by Steven Iodice from Pixabay

Latest BRC data paints grim picture for the High Street

Retail has shown its biggest sales decline on record covering the four weeks from April 28th – May 25th, 2019.

Sales decreased by three percent compared to the same period last year, which had then increased by 2.8 percent from 2017, making it the steepest like-for-like decline since December 2008.

Over the three-months to May, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased by 1.1 percent both on a like-for-like and on a total basis. This is below the 12-month total average decrease of 0.4% percent, while food sales increased by 0.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 1.9 percent on a total basis.

All records exclude Easter distortions, caused by Easter falling in different months in subsequent years.

Discussing the findings, Helen Dickinson, chief executive, British retail Consortium, said: “With the biggest decline in retail sales on record, the risk of further job losses and store closures will only increase. While May 2018 offered almost unbroken sunshine, topped off by the run up to the World Cup and the marriage of Meghan and Harry, May 2019 delivered political and economic uncertainty. Food sales dropped for the first time since June 2016, with further declines in clothing, footwear and outdoor goods.

“With retail conditions the toughest they have been for a decade, politicians must act to support the successful reinvention of our high streets and local communities. Business rates remain a barrier, preventing many retailers from investing in their physical space. We have a broken tax system, which sees retailers paying vast sums of money regardless of whether they make a penny at the till, and yet the Government is failing to act. The legislation is falling behind the technological revolution.”

“April may have provided retailers with some light reprieve thanks to Easter, but May’s staggering fall of 3% like-for-like is a stark reminder of the industry’s ongoing issues, which for many require urgent attention, said Paul Martin, head of retail, KPMG.

“We are of course comparing this month’s growth against a stellar May in 2018, but even the 3-month average – which softens the monthly volatility – demonstrates that achieving growth in retail remains a real struggle.

“The bank holiday weekends have given rise to the added interest in furniture and homewares, as shoppers set about making home improvements. However, the weather did little to convince fashion-minded shoppers to refresh their seasonal wardrobes.

“The extremely low growth online is real cause for concern, especially with almost a third of all non-food sales today being made online. This trend has continued to manifest itself over the last year and requires real focus from the retail community.”

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

How is retail using personalisation to regain offline market appeal?

Shopping habits have changed, and many customers have abandoned the historic weekend saunter down the high street in favour of convenient, online alternatives.

These days, brands must go above and beyond to ensure footfall in their physical stores. Modern marketing strategies must tailor their approach and face the challenge of how to regain offline market appeal. But, just how are they achieving this? Let’s take a look in our guide below…

Personalisation can enhance the buying experience

A recent study found that 75% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy from a brand which recognizes them by name, or that recommends them products based on previous purchases. Analytics can provide customer information which assists with personalisation, and this is key to building brand loyalty.

The iconic jeweler Tiffany and Co. brought a breath of fresh air to the opening of their Covent Garden store, creating a ‘Style Studio’ where they sell more than just their luxury jewels. Homeware and accessories have been added to the range, to give the brand a better positioning in the everyday life of their customers, found within the exquisite on brand studio, finished in the company’s classic duck egg blue.

Further features such as a personalisation station called #MakeItTiffany where customers can get jewellery items engraved. The aesthetic of the store also targets the Instagram generation of younger shoppers, and the store is an experience within itself. 

Back to basics to capture the offline audience

The travel retail industry has taken a notable hit in recent years, as the age-old tradition of visiting a high street agent has become a thing of the past. With companies such as Airbnb and a plethora of agents taking their businesses online, physical travel agents have had to think of innovative ways to retain the holiday booking experience as an offline task.

Virgin Holidays have taken this on board and created a string of concept stores to revitalise the booking experience. The stores include mocked up airplane cabins and virtual reality technologies to take customers on a simulated tour of a destination. By playing on sensory features, Virgin are capitalising on the ‘real’ elements which are far harder for digital to replicate. They have essentially gone back to basics, providing a friendly, visual experience in order to help trigger conversions.

This exemplifies the fact that certain personalisation methods in retail are exclusive to the offline space, and  22%of younger and older families still book their holiday in store which proves the value. 

Striking a balance between offline and online

Shops may all be flocking to digital platforms, but some are choosing to buck the trend and take their personalised services back to where it all began. Before the age of department stores and supermarkets, stores were small and independent, which made for strong rapports with customers.

However, the emergence of large, modern stores made shopping a far less sociable activity. When online furniture and homeware retailer Made.com decided to take a leap of faith and open a physical store, they kept this concept at the heart of their plans.

The recently relaunched Soho London showroom captured the best of both worlds, from QR codes to assist in locating products to staff lead workshops for customers to attend. By doing so, they struck the perfect balance between the offline and online world.

Knowing your customers and help encourage sales

Much personalisation comes from purely knowing your customers, and companies such as Joules offer targeted discounts to coincide with sales and shopping events, including Black Friday. By providing the relevant discounts, customers are more likely to feel drawn towards a purchase as the offer is based on their previous buying habits with the brand.

Urban Outfitters use their reward scheme to dish out points to shoppers, even just by paying a visit to the store. Incentives like these can provide the fuel for a conversion, as well as a trip to the shops. Many stores offer memberships or points cards, which offer regular treats or an annual vouchers provide the motivation for a purchase, as simple as it might sound!

Overall, retailers are rejuvenating their approaches to retail, with a new degree of personalisation. Human elements are the most difficult to replicate online, therefore retail is effectively playing to its own advantage by boosting the presence of personalisation by creating a shopping experience which is tailored to the customer. 

Article produced by Where The Trade Buys, UK based suppliers of personalised travel mugswith a high quality finish.

Retail brands ‘failing to deliver on in-store sustainability’

Retail brands are failing to address sustainability throughout the product lifecycle, despite 85% claiming that it is important, and 86% ranking it as an important factor to customers when making a purchase decision

That’s the result of a survey of 200 retail professionals by undertaken by international retail installation specialist 100% Group, which says that while sustainability-conscious brands place high importance on the raw materials used to create retail displays and packaging, they neglect the end-of-life outcome.

When it comes to in-store retail displays, the research (conducted by market research company Sapio) found that 61% of retail brands said that their displays are sustainable.

Yet while brands find that sustainability programmes come at a cost, incurring an average increase of 18%, the decision appears to pay off, producing an average 23% increase in sales from making displays more sustainable. 

The research suggests that the future of retail is green; 22% of retailers said they already have sustainability initiatives in place and a further 43% are planning to introduce them within a year. 

Retail display (72%), and packaging (61%) are the two areas where sustainability is taken into account most, but only 41% address it at product end-of-life, suggesting that brands and retailers are missing a circular sustainability policy.

This, says 100% Group, means that retail displays at best end up being recycled, while many are simply thrown away when they reach the end of their life rather than being re-used or redeployed to extend their lifecycle. 

Dan Williams, Founder and Managing Director of 100% Group said: “There appears to be a significant disconnect between the brands that claim to be sustainable and those that apply this in a full circle capacity. While it’s positive to see brands making sustainable choices on the products, packaging and displays themselves, it’s important to consider end-of-life arrangements upfront to ensure materials can be properly redeployed instead of sent straight to landfill.” 

Of the 69% of retail brands that say that their brand has an environmental sustainability policy, over half use recycling targets to manage it, while others focus on material reduction targets (45%) and energy consumption (41%).

Although brands appear to be making conscious efforts to improve sustainable practices, 100% Group says the figures suggest that green regulations don’t go far enough, with only 23% of respondents using these as guidelines to set targets.  

Unsurprisingly, brands believe that packaging is the most important area to demonstrate commitment to sustainability (67%) with branding and marketing falling at the bottom of the list.

Discounting drives online purchasing decisions

Two thirds of Britons have made an online shopping decision based purely on a discount that was available, with 80% of 18-31 year olds admitting to the practice.

A study, by global affiliate network Awin, has found that found that 66% of Britons have used a price comparison site in the past six months, whilst 59% have used an online voucher code in the same time frame, with a further 66% admitting to using any form of affiliate service to make an online purchase.

What’s more, almost half of consumers (47%) see the importance of bloggers and specialist websites to help inform their online purchases.

The survey polled 2,250 people over the age of 18.

The report found that more than half of online shoppers have interacted with an affiliate service in the past six months, and the findings were echoed by the results of the survey, which found that as many as 66% of Britons have used an affiliate service in the past six months, predominantly though the use of online voucher codes or price comparison sites, used by 59% and 66% respectively.

Online voucher codes were most popular amongst 18-31 year olds, with 67% using one in the past six months, whilst price comparison sites were most popular for 32-45 year olds, with 75% visiting one in the last half a year.

In terms of the savings made by consumers through an affiliate channel, 90% of those that have used an online voucher code said that they saved money in the process, whilst 88% of those that used a price comparison site admitted to the same.

The importance attached to affiliate sites was also looked at, and it was found that 85% of respondents answered that price comparison sites were ‘somewhat important’, ‘very important’ and ‘extremely important’, whilst 81% answered the same in reference to online discount code sites.

Almost half of respondents (47%) said that they saw the importance of bloggers and specialist websites when buying online, and 52% answered the same in relation to cashback sites.

Consumer online shopping habits were also explored, with it being found that 67% of all respondents had impulsively purchased a product online based on the fact that it was discounted. 18-31 year olds were found to be the most impulsive, with 80% admitting they have made last minute purchasing decisions based on markdowns alone.

It was found that 72% of consumers first use a search engine to begin their online shopping journey, particularly older shoppers, with 80% of 46-59 year olds admitting to this. Conversely, 30% of 18-31 year olds would look on social media to begin with, compared to 10% of all participants. Consumers were found to be more likely to visit a comparison site first (9%) than they were to visit Amazon (8%).

Online voucher codes were most likely to be used when purchasing fashion products online, with one third (33%) saying they were ‘extremely likely’ to use one when buying clothes, whilst comparison sites were most likely used for travel, with 77% revealing they were ‘extremely likely’ to utilise them when booking a holiday.

The report found that 60% of airline sales on desktops are driven by price comparison sites, and users will visit an average of 38 different websites before committing to an online travel purchase.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Kevin Edwards, Group Client Strategy Director at Awin, said: “Whilst consumers might not even realise it, affiliate channels are often a core part of purchasing products online, and are a much more user-friendly way of advertising a product. Whilst those of us in the industry are already aware of its widespread manifestation, this survey shows how important affiliate channels are for online shopping and ecommerce.”

GUEST BLOG: Data-driven insights, DNVBs and the death of the agency model – what does 2019 have in store for retailers and their digital partners?

Jonathan McNamara, co-founder and CEO of digital consultancy RetroFuzz discusses the trends most likely to impact the industry in 2019…

2018 was an exciting, and challenging, year for digital marketing. Conversations around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and influencer marketing became fused, as the rise of virtual influencers like Lil Miquela and Sophia the Robot marked new opportunities for engagement.

Concerns over security and data privacy, heightened by GDPR compliance, remained at the top of everyone’s Twitter feeds. Chatbots, conversational UX and video marketing are all trends from this year that will spill, and expand, into the next. As the year comes to an end, we spent some time thinking about what the digital sector can expect from the next one.

Here are our predictions for what the retail sector should expect and see being implemented by the digital industry in 2019.

The agency model is dead

Or at least, it’s evolving. The gig economy, the 24-hour work day, and new perspectives on work-life balance means that more people than ever are working remotely – either as part of a flexi-time scheme or as freelancers. There has become less demand for a generalist mindset; many retail brands now employ in-house creative team members, making the full-service style of agency feel not only outdated, but redundant.

In 2019, we predict that the most progressive agencies will begin to reinvent themselves as a flexible, agile team of specialists that are built around their client’s exact needs. The agency model will give way to the rise of digital consultancies, who tailor their skillset to fit around a particular project or client – not the other way around.

As an embedded extension of their in-house team, this new form of agency – the digital consultancy – is more than just a workforce. They are advocates for their clients, as well as their creative partners. This model will value transparency and collaboration; empowering clients with expertise and working closely with them through every stage of the process: from strategy, to delivery and finally, implementation.

How DNVBs are doing it better

Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) are created on the internet, for the internet. Beauty brand Glossier built it’s cult-like following almost entirely through Instagram (it now has 1.6m followers). Historically, there have been two channels: wholesalers and direct to consumer. DNVBs don’t engage in wholesale; everything they produce is from a direct-to-consumer perspective. They’re changing customer service as much as they’re transforming User Experience (UX) – and that’s important.

In 2019, established retail brands will make a point of learning from the DNVB model. According to We Are Social, more than 3 billion people are on social media worldwide. DNVBs like Glossier have capitalised on social media platforms to tell their brand story; and have built their audiences through customer engagement. Listening to the customer, and learning from them, are not just built into the design process; for DNVBs they’re a point of origin. Structuring a business around the consumer experience, and prioritising their perspective, is the future of accelerated growth in the digital sector.

This will be the year that DNVBs make their biggest challenge to the high street yet: by expanding into physical retail. Following the likes of established DNVBs like Warby Parker, Casper and Bonobos who have already reimagined their customer centric, digital concept as bricks-and-mortar shops. As the customer becomes more discerning, UX and brand narrative becomes all the more important. We believe big retail brands can benefit from focusing on their direct-to-consumer channels and creating engaging, purpose-driven content that tells a story worth sharing.

Data driven insights

According to an article in Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every day; 90% of data in the world was generated in the last two years – a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. The same research has shown that Google now processes more than 40,000 searches every day, while smart device ownership is predicted to grow to a projected fifty billion by 2020*.

Investigation of data is not just integral to the UX design process, it’s the start of it all. In 2019, retail brands will use data insight to listen more closely to their customers, and apply their findings to inform design decisions. Through software like Google Analytics and Hotjar, screen recordings, scroll maps, polls on websites and face-to-face conversations with consumers, digital experts can gain a 360 degree understanding of a user’s experience. It’s all about getting a clear feedback loop on what the customer wants; telling a story by following the funnel of data, from where it begins through to conversion. We predict that data and insight will become a pivotal element in conversations with clients around UX, and empower their decisions to take onboard new directions of design.

Marketing automation, AI and personalisation

During 2019, marketing automation tools powered by AI will continue to increase, and hone, personalisation. Mapping the customer’s experience – from the messages they receive, to their eCommerce journey – will fuel the UX design process in new ways. According to research by Forrester, global spending on marketing automation tools will grow from $11.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to $25.1 billion in 2023.

The use of marketing automation will only increase as digital marketers discover new, smarter ways to learn about their customers. New trends, like Machine Learning-as-a-Service (MLaaS) products, Machine Learning Data Catalogs (MLDCs), semantic SEO and advancements in chatbots will have a bigger part to play during 2019.

Ultimately, marketing automation and AI will feed into the new model of consultancy that we’ll see more of next year by empowering agencies and their retail clients with rich data and a customer-centric approach to the design process.

But don’t forget the basics

The next big thing in the digital marketing space is all well and good but at the heart of everyone’s strategy for 2019 should be a clear focus on getting the greatest commercial return for their investments in eCommerce. Sometimes, that means accepting the latest tech innovation or update is not in a brand’s best interest; forgoing a few quick wins, challenging all that is trendy, and achieving, together, long-term, lasting results that add real value to their business. Going back to basics is top of our wish list for clients for 2019 – putting digital marketing spend where it is needed and gaining the greatest ROI possible.

UK eCommerce is booming, but customers still ‘frustrated’ with processes

Personal data usage, unavailable stock and hidden charges are among the top gripes UK consumers have about shopping online, according new research.

AI and blockchain enabled find engine Zwoop polled 1000 UK adults and 1000 US adults via insights platform CitizenMe in an attempt to uncover the biggest grievances with eCommerce, with the following moans topping the tables:

Top five problems shopping online UK and US
Rank UK % US %
1 The item you are looking for is out of stock 64 Unexpected charges on top of your purchase 53
2 Unexpected charges on top of your purchase 46 The item you are looking for is out of stock 48
3 What you buy is not delivered on time / when expected 39 It takes a long time to find what you want 47
4 What you want is only available abroad 34 The check out process is too time consuming 44
5 It takes a long time to find what you want 32 You can never find the exact product you are looking for

“E-commerce has evolved to service the needs of retailers rather than consumers, who are forced to experience pain throughout the buying process,” said Alessandro Gadotti, CEO of Zwoop. “Our research has identified a high level of frustration in the UK and the US. People struggle to find products that are in stock, unexpected charges are imposed at the end of the buying process, purchases aren’t being delivered when promised and time is wasted trying to find the exact products they want.”

In addition to buying grievances, the survey also uncovered a trend of a more fundamental concern – how retailers are using customer data.

On both sides of the Atlantic, customers reported increased sensitivity about how their data is being used by retailers and third parties (84 percent in the UK, 78 percent in the US claim that they are more conscious of how their data is being used compared to a year ago).

The scale of the challenge facing retailers is underlined by the fact that 78 percent of UK adults, and 69 percent of US adults said they were uncomfortable with how their data was used.

“While it’s encouraging that consumers are more aware of how their data is being used – probably thanks to the Cambridge Analytica revelations earlier this year – their dissatisfaction is not being met with real change,” said Gadotti. “This research shows that the vast majority of people do not like how their data is being used, yet they are stuck using the same sites regardless. Companies are taking advantage of customers, and there needs to be another option. This is an area in which the use of blockchain – which can transfer control of personal data from the retailer to the individual – holds much promise”.

The survey revealed that the typical consumer’s e-commerce experience is dominated by a few large companies. Amazon is the starting point for online shopping for 46 percent of people in the UK, and 37 percent people in the US.

In fact, 94 percent of Brits and 90 percent of Americans start their online shop on Amazon, eBay or a search engine, leaving little market space for online retailers or competing marketplaces.

This reliance on a few sites means that shoppers are not necessarily getting a true view of the options available to them, which many customers recognise. In the US, over a third (36 percent) admitted that they don’t bother to compare prices between different sites and almost half (46 percent) think they could have found a cheaper price if they looked for longer. Even more people in the UK (55 percent) think they could have found a better price if they’d kept looking.

“The world of e-commerce is dominated by a few large companies who control the market,” continued Gadotti. “The majority of consumers start their shopping experience with these giants by default, because searching the whole of the internet has been next to impossible, at least until now, and don’t even consider looking at other websites.”

“Most worryingly, 79 percent of UK adults said that they believe the websites they use are designed to find them the best deals. In reality, that is not the case – search engines, for example, do not show results on the best deal, it’s done on SEO and ultimately marketing spend.”

When asked, 40 percent UK adults and a staggering 68 percent of US adults said that the ability to use cryptocurrency on their favourite shops online would make them more likely to buy cryptocurrency.

Two thirds of UK consumers think fraud is ‘inevitable’ when shopping online

The majority of UK consumers accept the risk of fraud when shopping online, according to research from Paysafe.

70 percent now prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores, and a similar number (68 percent) shop online much more than they did a year ago.

This is despite almost two thirds (65 percent) of consumers accepting that a certain level of ecommerce fraud is ‘inevitable’ during the ecommerce process, up from 52 percent last year, underlining the increasing value consumers put on convenience.

33 percent of UK shoppers said they have experienced payment fraud in the past year, up 6 percent on 2017, which Paysafe says is perhaps symptomatic of merchants continuing to prioritise digital sales.

Research from Ovum shows 58 percent of merchants place great value in reducing lost sales online compared to tackling fraud. Nearly half (48 percent) admitted they would accept a higher level of fraud in return for greater sales.

The report from payments provider Paysafe also showed that when shopping online, 61 percent have used digital wallets in the past month, 34 percent have used a credit card, and 57 percent a debit card.

Meanwhile, 51 percent are using in-app purchases more than a year ago, as the popularity of services such as Uber and Deliveroo change the traditional eCommerce payment process by retaining customers’ information for a seamless app experience. In fact, 79 percent now say they prefer to shop on a website that already has their payment information stored, highlighting that UK consumers place a premium on convenience.

Yet, data shows these attitudes do not translate to the realm of ‘frictionless’ payments – i.e. invisible transactions that take place ‘behind the scenes’ in apps – which are being held back by UK consumer concerns over security and data privacy, according to the findings. 52 percent of UK consumers cite fraud as the biggest barrier to using them; 43 percent express concerns around the use of their data, while two thirds (67 percent) think voice-activated systems are not secure.

And in spite of the popularity of eCommerce, cash continues to thrive as the most common form of payment: 88 percent of consumers used it in the past month to make a purchase.

Although 62 percent of UK consumers carry less cash than they did a year ago, falling from an average of £33 last year to £21 in 2018, their relationship with cash is changing and there are other ways to keep it at the forefront of the payment mix.

For example, in Austria and Germany, online cash replacement systems which negate the need to share financial data are used by 12 percent and 9 percent of respondents respectively. Indeed, 67% of UK consumers said they feel more comfortable purchasing online via a payment option where their financial details are not shared.

In North America, prepaid cards are the most popular cash alternative, used by 18 percent of Canadians and 16 percent of Americans respectively.

Oscar Nieboer, Chief Marketing Officer at Paysafe Group, said: “UK consumers’ attitudes towards fraud in payments are largely defined by the medium of the transaction. In the UK, we have now reached a level of maturity in online retail – most websites are optimised, the checkout process is increasingly simple and delivery is getting quicker. In turn, more consumers are telling us they are accepting a level of fraud for this convenience. What is notable, though, is the same rules do not yet apply to biometrics, such as voice-activated payments. The idea of a consumer’s unique biometric data being defrauded is uncomfortable, and this manifests as emerging technology like voice not yet attracting mainstream usage for payments.”

These findings emerge as other regions are taking active steps to navigate the fraud landscape typically associated with online retail. Only 28 percent and 26 percent of German and Austrian consumers accept a level of fraud is inevitable, which is why pay by invoice is popular in these regions. 29 percent of Germans and 38 percent of Austrians have used this method, which circumnavigates the entry of payment details online, with offline verification and authentication replacing it.

“What the diversity of payment types in other regions shows is we shouldn’t simply accept fraud. We shouldn’t have to choose between risk and convenience, and in a time of hyper-awareness around data security and privacy, merchants must place a premium on securing customers’ data now more than ever,” said Nieboer.

Mobile Optimisation

Europeans searching & shopping online for UK brands on the up

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Google Online Retail Monitor shows that overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17% YoY in Q2 2018, up from 13% in Q1.

The North & Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in Q2, at 26%, higher than Greater London’s 23%.

In terms of retail categories, beauty saw YoY growth of 10% for UK mobile users in Q2 2018, though, this is lower than the 10% seen in Q1.

Home & Garden saw the highest YoY growth for Overseas mobile searches with growth 29% YoY in Q2 2018.

Italy demonstrated the strongest year on year growth in searches for UK brands from the EU, reporting 31% growth in Q2 2018.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive at the British Retail Consortium, said: The scorching summer sun has inevitably meant that online searches for home and garden products – like barbeques and garden furniture – were among the top search terms across Europe and beyond. At the same time, end of school term has created a surge in searches for prom dresses and computer games to entertain kids during the long holidays.

“Online retail search activity is maintaining its growth trajectory, being driven by consumers moving online to shop. Given this growth, some retailers will be looking at the opportunities for exporting offers to other countries.

“These trends will continue as retailers continue to invest in the evolution of their online offering for shoppers.”

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