Online shopping via PC is declining faster than store shopping in the UK, as consumers switch to mobile and tablets

Published at 14:19 PM on 24 February 2014

  • Online shopping  via PC is  declining – down 7% from 2012, store shopping down 5%;
  • While online shopping via mobile and tablet is growing – up 46% and 56% respectively from 2012*
  • 37% of UK internet shoppers buy online weekly

Shopping online via mobile and tablet is growing at the expense of shopping via PC and in-store, according to new research from PwC: Achieving Total Retail: Consumer expectations driving the next retail business model.

Matthew Tod, UK retail and digital partner, PwC, commented:

“Consumers are choosing the shopping method that suits them best, and whilst store decline has been visible for a number of years, it now seems to be the turn of the PC to suffer as consumer shopping behaviour continues to evolve.”

Ecommerce growth driven by habit

Over a third of UK internet shoppers now shop online on a weekly basis as the growth of UK ecommerce is fuelled by an increased frequency of online purchasing. Also, almost two-thirds (64%) of UK internet shoppers say they now buy online because they get better deals than in-store.

Matthew Tod commented:

“Consumers are becoming ever more complicated and retailers now have to figure out how to provide what they want in a profitable way. There’s an increasing requirement for retailers to transform their businesses, not just simply adding more channels.”

A shrinking footprint

The survey of over 15,000 online shoppers in 15 countries - with over a 1,000 in the UK - shows a consistent picture across the world, with internet shopping becoming an ever increasing part of day-to-day behaviour. It also shows that consumers are increasingly shopping with fewer retail brands. For example, when UK respondents were asked to choose the number of online retailers they shopped with over the previous 12 months, over half (57%) said they shopped with five or fewer.

When UK online shoppers were asked why they shop at their top three retailers/brands, trust was the most important reason (85%), ahead of price (79%).

Matthew Tod commented:

"Given the rise in cyber-crime and consumer concern about personal data, this finding highlights the need for retailers to take more action to protect their reputation."

Cross-border shopping

A third of UK respondents have shopped cross border and when asked the reasons for doing so, 83% said it was because the product was not available in the UK, showing that UK retailers need to be globally competitive to entice shoppers to keep shopping local.

Matthew Tod, UK retail and digital partner, PwC, concluded:

"Retailers need to be more aware of online competition from outside the UK. Consumers will go outside their comfort zone to get the product they want rather than wait for a UK retailer to stock the item."


Notes to Editors

PwC commissioned an online global survey of 15,080 online shoppers from 15 territories in August and September 2013. 1002 respondents were online shoppers in the UK.

*numbers are based on the percentage of people surveyed in the UK using that channel on a monthly or more basis.

For more information, see:


Gill Carson
PwC | Media Relations Manager
Office: 020 7212 1391 | Mobile: 07837 285466
Email: [email protected]
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
twitter: @gill_carson



About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 208,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details. © 2016 PwC. All rights reserved

« Retail sales figures - PwC chief economist comments | Homepage | UKCS Maximising Recovery Review – PwC response »

  • Contact us
  • +44 (0) 20 7213 1768

Specific and out of hours contacts