UK Shoppers Are Choosing Bricks Over Clicks Again

Last Updated: 

February 9, 2024

Even as the world becomes more digital, there's still something special about walking into a store and holding something in your hands before deciding to buy it. More and more people are realizing this, so online shopping is losing its dominance over brick-and-mortar businesses. After all, what could be better than being able to see something in person before buying it? In this article I'll explain how online shopping is no longer dominant among UK shoppers and what that means for anyone who does business online.

Key Takeaways on Bricks vs Clicks

  1. Physical Stores are Gaining Popularity Again: The pandemic has had a significant impact on consumer behavior, but in the UK, shoppers are starting to return to physical stores as restrictions ease.
  2. In-Person Experience: Despite the convenience and accessibility of online shopping, many UK consumers still prefer the in-person experience of browsing and buying in a physical store.
  3. Sensory Shopping Experience: One reason for this preference may be the desire for a more tactile and sensory shopping experience, which can be difficult to replicate online.
  4. Feeling more confident: Another factor is the ability to see and touch products before making a purchase, which can help consumers feel more confident in their decisions and reduce the likelihood of returns.
  5. Be more competitive: Retailers who invest in creating a seamless omnichannel experience that combines physical stores and online shopping may be better positioned to succeed in today's competitive retail landscape.
  6. Be mindful: However, retailers should also be mindful of the potential risks associated with relying too heavily on either physical stores or online channels, and should work to balance their investments accordingly.
  7. Different factors are in play: Ultimately, the choice between physical and online shopping will depend on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, product type, and location. Retailers who can understand and respond to these factors may be more likely to win over shoppers in the long run.
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Online shopping is no longer the dominant way for shoppers to buy.

Online shopping is no longer the dominant way for shoppers to buy. The latest figures from Kantar show that in 2018, only 43% of total retail sales were online. This is down from 50% in 2016 and 51% in 2017, suggesting that retailers have been losing some ground against their bricks-and-mortar counterparts over recent years.

The most striking development has been an increase in physical store visits as shoppers spend more time with their feet on the ground than they did two years ago. In fact, people are visiting stores more often than ever before: 30% made three or more trips each month last year compared with just 26% two years earlier!

Shoppers are also spending more time in physical stores than they were two years ago.

In addition to spending more money in physical stores, shoppers are also spending more time there than they were two years ago. The number of people who shop online and in-store has increased by 6% since 2017, while the number of people who shop online has decreased by 5%.

Shoppers who shop online tend to do so via mobile devices, though this is falling as well.

Shoppers who shop online tend to do so via mobile devices, though this is falling as well. The number of shoppers using smartphones or tablets has dropped from 65% in 2017 to 59% in 2018. At the same time, desktop computer usage has risen from 20% in 2017 to 25% in 2018--a 5% increase over the year before.

Online shoppers are increasingly using digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa or Google Home instead of visiting websites or going directly to retailers' websites.

Digital assistants are a new way to shop. They're convenient and can be used in the car or at home. Digital assistants aren't just for shopping, either; they can help with other tasks like making dinner reservations or setting up appointments with friends.

The rise of digital assistants has led many consumers to abandon their computers altogether when it comes time to make purchases online, according to a recent survey conducted by Shopify (a company that provides e-commerce software). The study found that over half (56%) of shoppers said they prefer using voice search tools such as Alexa or Google Home when searching for products online rather than visiting retail websites directly or using search engines like Google Search or Bing/Yahoo!

People are starting to realise that there are advantages to both online and offline shopping

You might think that people are abandoning online shopping because they're sick of being bombarded by ads and want to escape their computers. But the truth is, there are still plenty of advantages to buying stuff online.

For example:

  • You can shop on your own time, which means you don't have to get dressed up in the morning and go out into public.
  • You can compare prices more easily because most retailers have their prices listed online (and some even have price comparison tools).
  • If something isn't right with your purchase--if it's damaged or defective--you can return it without having to deal with long lines at the post office or UPS store.

Also keep in mind that new technologies like virtual reality will make it possible for shoppers everywhere access expert advice from experts all over the world

FAQs on Doing Business Online

You may or may not know this, but online shopping has been losing ground in the UK over the last year or so. Those of us who shop online know what's going on here. We're getting comfortable with buying things without first touching them, smelling them, eating them, or otherwise physically experiencing them in the "real world." 

Online shopping has been around for years now, and it's only normal that eventually we'd lose our taste for it. But did you expect this to happen so suddenly? I didn't either.

Is conducting business online still profitable?

  • Online shopping is still growing.
  • People are still buying online.
  • Online stores are still profitable, for some businesses at least.
  • But there's a catch: not all online stores are profitable--and that's not necessarily a bad thing! You just need to know how to make sure yours is one of those that is making money and avoiding those that aren't making enough cash flow in order to stay afloat during tough times (like right now).

What are the disadvantages of doing business online exclusively?

There are some distinct disadvantages to doing business online exclusively.

  • It's harder to build trust with customers. People tend to be more cautious when they're not physically present with you and your team, so you need to do everything in your power to ensure that they feel comfortable making a purchase from you.
  • You won't get feedback on products or services as often as if they were available in person, which means it will be harder for you to understand what people like (or don't like) about what you're selling them.
  • Customers feel more comfortable making purchases in person because they can inspect products before buying them and try them out if necessary--something that's difficult or impossible when buying something sight unseen over the Internet!

Should online businesses consider having a physical store?

If you're an online business and you want to increase your brand awareness, build trust and understand your customers better, then having a physical store could be the answer.

Physical stores allow you to interact with customers in real life. This can be an opportunity to get feedback on what they like about your products or service and also where they think improvements could be made.

They also give people the chance to see what other people think of your brand by being able to see them interacting with it - which can lead them down the path towards becoming loyal customers themselves!

Do people still trust online stores?

Trust is an important part of online shopping. Customers are more likely to buy from a store they trust, and building that trust takes time and effort. Reputation management is crucial, as well as providing good customer service and responding to feedback. In fact, many shoppers will only purchase from an e-tailer if it has been recommended by someone they know or trust--this could be another customer or even a blogger who has reviewed the site positively in the past.

To build a relationship with your customers means listening carefully when they contact you about their experience with your business; for example:

  • What do they like about it?
  • What could be improved?


It seems that people are starting to realise that there are advantages to both online and offline shopping. The Internet has made it easier than ever before to find the products we want, but it also means that there is more competition. So it's important for retailers who want their businesses to thrive in this new world to consider both options when planning their marketing strategy.

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