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Experian Mosaic UK

Experian Mosaic UK is the leading classification of UK consumers.

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The changing face of UK retail in today's multichannel world.

Revealed: The consumers who can help save the high street

London and the South East most likely to benefit from change in shopping behaviour

If you shop by researching products online, use social media to ask your friends for recommendations, or head in store for a product trial before a final price check on your phone, then you could well be part of an emerging group of consumers with the power to save Britain’s high streets: The multi-channel shopper

Experian’s analysis reveals that Southall, Harrow and Wimbledon Village are the top three high street locations with largest concentrations of these multi-channel mavens. In stark contrast, the areas with the fewest multi-channel shoppers are in remote, rural areas with Pwllheli, Cardigan and Porthmadog in Wales and Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas in  Scotland all scoring lowly.

Set against the recent troubles faced by well known high street brands such as Thorntons and Habitat and the appointment of retail guru Mary Portas to carry out a government-backed review, Experian has today revealed that the multi-channel shopper is actually providing high street retailers with a reason to be optimistic. This is based on analysis of the shopping behaviour of two thousand people and analysis from Experian’s consumer classification tool, Mosaic. It provides a fresh perspective that challenges the view that Britain’s high streets are in terminal decline.

Nigel Wilson, Experian’s Managing Director of Marketing Information Services in the UK and Ireland, said: “The emergence of a divide between the South East and the remainder of the country in the future prosperity of our high streets is a trend we are seeing. What our research shows is that there are great opportunities out there for retailers who can capitalise on changes in consumer behaviour, wherever they are located. Shoppers still love walking into a store but they are increasingly searching the internet, smartphones and social networks before buying. Retailers ignoring this do so at their peril.”

In fact, analysis recently provided by Experian revealed that one in 10 consumers use their mobile in-store to check the price of goods elsewhere before making a decision whether to buy or not.

The Experian research reveals that almost a third (31 per cent) of the UK population now falls into the multi-channel category, with concentrations around particular regional hubs. Southall is the UK’s multi-channel capital: 66.3 per cent of the local population are multi-channel mavens, making the Greater London borough the area most likely to benefit from this savvy shopping behaviour.

Top 15 multi-channel shopping locations

  1. Southall
  2. Harrow
  3. Wimbledon Village
  4. Richmond
  5. East Sheen
  6. Wandsworth
  7. Ealing Broadway
  8. New Malden
  9. Hounslow
  10. Putney
  11. Chiswick
  12. Wimbledon
  13. Feltham
  14. Barnet
  15. Kingston upon Thames

The opportunity beyond London

Whilst the top 15 multi-channel hotspots are concentrated within Greater London, Experian’s research identifies hubs outside the capital, with the seaside town of Hove having the highest proportion of these multi-channel mavens (54% of population).

  1. Hove
  2. Slough
  3. Reading
  4. Oxford
  5. Edinburgh
  6. Bristol
  7. St Albans
  8. Milton Keynes
  9. Bromley
  10. Swindon

Who is the multi-channel shopper?

The multi-channel shopper is urban, affluent and young; however, Experian’s research shows that multi-channel shoppers consist of four distinct groups, each with their own unique behaviours and motivations for multi-channel retailing:

  • Informed Independence
    The wealthiest of the multi-channel shoppers, they tend to live with their children in family houses. With most of their income tied up in property, finding the best product in the right place is key for this group. Characterised by the value they place on their independence they are less likely to be influenced by social media, preferring to conduct their own in-depth research both in-store and online. (Mosaic group Suburban Mindsets)
  • Forensic Fact Finders
    These young families are focussed on building for the future and are often over-stretched on their credit, resulting in functionality, reliability and value being the key drivers of their purchasing decisions. Another key consideration is understanding the ethical and environmental credentials of products before purchasing them, meaning they rely upon the internet to develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of products. These consumers find reassurance in knowing the finest details of products but lack time to wait in for products to be delivered. Therefore convenient schemes such as click and collect resonate well with this group. (Mosaic group Careers and Kids)
  • Mobile Movers
    New home makers tend to be young, single professionals living in flats or divided houses. They tend to rely on the internet to search for information and advice about products and services: However, they prefer to receive information via their mobile rather than direct mail. These individuals have often recently moved into a new area and therefore rely upon research to establish the best products to purchase and how to locate them. (Mosaic group New Home Makers)
  • City Clickers
    These young professionals love city life and the vibrancy and diversity this brings. These individuals have yet to commit to partners, children or purchased property leading to them often living in smart rented flats, many of which receive a rapid turnover of tenants. They are experienced users of the internet and therefore use this as a key channel to purchase products and manage their finances. Again their lack of time means waiting in for online deliveries may prove to be a barrier to making final purchases online. (Mosaic group Liberal Opinions)

Experian’s view on multi-channel

Nigel Wilson added: “Although multi-channel shoppers tend to share some characteristics, our research shows that they are clearly defined groups. This has a real impact for marketers to understand the best channels to reach each section and if high street retailers want to thrive, they need to increase their flexibility and reach across all channels.”

The rise of the social shopper

Experian’s research also reveals that although social media plays some part in the multi-channel shopper’s decision making process, there is a distinct group of individuals for whom social media dictates their purchasing decisions.

These individuals are urbanised and live in small houses or flats. Their disposable income is limited which means they like to spend their money in an informed fashion through the advice of their peers. For this group, social networking is a way of life and their reliance on this form of media is greater than others. Most likely to be seen with the latest mobile phone, this group has a high take up of new technologies.

Nigel Wilson commented: “For marketers, understanding the distinction between not only the sub-sets of multi-channel shoppers but also appreciating there is a unique group of social shoppers who need to have products promoted to them in a different fashion is crucial.”

Social shoppers are usually concentrated around up and coming urban areas. East London led the way with the highest concentration from anywhere in the country closely followed by South London. Outside of London social shoppers were found near large urban areas.

Driving consumers to the high street

Whilst you would expect consumers to research their new laptop online the trend of multi-channel shopping has extended as far as the food sector. Seventy per cent of consumers state that the internet has some influence on their food purchases whilst other sectors see that statistic as high as 80-90 per cent.

Other factors driving consumers back to the high street focus on the frustrations that consumers face with online shopping. Sixty per cent of online shoppers have revealed frustration over deliveries arriving whilst they were not in, a particular concern for the under 35’s, whilst 50 per cent of respondents received products that they didn’t feel matched their online description. These factors are driving multi-channel shoppers back to the high street and providing opportunities for retailers who get their strategy right to survive and thrive on the high street.

What this means for the high street?

Experian’s research highlights significant changes in how consumers shop and points to ways retailers can embrace technology to boost high street performance and maintain the high street as a key part of Britain’s retail mix. Experian has five top tips for any retailers who aim to maintain and grow their high-street presence.

EXPERIAN’S TOP 5 TIPS FOR RETAILERS

  1. Knowledge is power. Never underestimate how much consumers know about the performance and price of your products.
  2. Join the channels up. Make sure on and offline marketing is a consistent experience, multi-channel users will purchase across both channels.
  3. Incentivise consumers in the right places. Know where and what consumers respond to best.
  4. Embrace the power of social media, use friends networks such as Facebook to drive consumers to on and offline locations.
  5. Make it mobile. Create an app to help them find you on the go.
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