Survey Shows Independent Retailers Fear Online Rivals

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9th September 2013 10:53 - Retail

The Latest Autumn Fair Retail Sentiment Survey, which interviewed an average of 700 independent retailers in surveys, carried out both this August and last August. They found two fifths (37%) now fear the threat of online rivals winning rising ecommerce sales – up from one fifth (22%) at the same time last year.

Behind the fear lie perceptions of increased ‘showrooming,’ where customers compare products on mobile devices in-store. Among the retailers interviewed, half (55%) said showrooming had increased over the past year.

Most (53%) now believe the Treasury should proceed with the ecommerce sales tax, something the Government recently ruled out.

Furthermore, two thirds (65%) said less than £1 in every £10 of their income came from online sources over the past twelve months – up from two fifths (44%) in August 2012.

Nick Davidson, Director of Retail Buying Show Autumn Fair 2013, said:

“Online retailers are seen as a threat to traditional, bricks and mortar stores. But if you can’t beat them, join them: independent retailers need to think about how they can spruce up their websites to ride the crest of the e-commerce wave… They should also be thinking about how they can use their assets to their advantage…”

Nearly half of retailers surveyed run discount schemes or loyalty programmes to attract more custom, yet an almost equal amount (42%) do not.

Three fifths (57%) of retailers believe a cut in VAT is the best solution to improving the overall health of the High Street, followed by Government Investment into the retail sector (50%), and the freezing of business rates and lower car parking costs (45% each).

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