Online retail news in brief (4 April 2018)


In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Wet Easter hurts the high street

The wet weather over the Easter weekend discouraged shoppers from visiting the high street, according to Springboard. Footfall dropped 9.6% year-on-year on Good Friday, and 6.9% on Easter Saturday. Easter Monday also suffered, with a 14% year-on year drop.

Retail parks and shopping centres fared better, with 5% year-on-year growth.

Non-food prices ease

Nielsen and the BRC have released figures which suggest that non-food prices are falling. March deflation saw prices drop by 1.9%. February also saw a drop, at -2.2%. Food prices only grew 0.4%, after having seen February inflation of 1.6%.

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight at Nielsen: "Consumers are still coping with falling disposable incomes and non-food retailers are having to keep price increases to a minimum or make further price cuts, as consumer demand has been weak since the start of the year. With inflationary pressure receding in the food supply chain, we can now expect supermarkets to focus on lowering prices and to use promotions to drive visits as part of the battle for gaining share of wallet.”

Google starts to see higher value mobile purchases

Shoppers are starting to make higher value purchases on mobile, according to Sidecar’s 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report.

Steve Costanza, senior analyst for enterprise customer strategy at Sidecar: “One of the most significant Google Shopping trends we saw in 2017 was consumers’ willingness to complete higher value purchases on mobile, with mobile average order values growing 23% over 2016. While conversion rates on mobile still lag behind desktop, consumers are getting more comfortable purchasing a wider array of products on mobile.”

Mobile represented 36% of Google Shopping revenue in 2017, an increase of 19% year-on-year.

Sales on smartphone up 18.9% in December has released figures which indicate that in December 2017, mobile sales grew 18.9%. Additionally:

  • Mobile’s share of online purchases increased from 36% to 41% between 2016 and 2017
  • 88% of shoppers now carry out research on their smartphone before making a purchase
  • 76% of people who search on their smartphone for something nearby will then visit a related business or retailer within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase

Government to introduce deposit return scheme for plastic

The price of glass, metal, and plastic drinks bottles are set to increase as part of a new deposit return scheme (DRS).

The government’s DRS scheme would see a deposit placed on top of prices, which would be refundable on return of the container. Retailers would then be responsible for recycling the returned vessels. The proposals have been met with praise and criticism.

“Pardon” for man who caused hotel seagull chaos

A man has been forgiven by a luxury hotel for his part in a seagull-based disaster in 2001.

Nick Burchill was on a business trip, staying at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Colombia. After placing a pepperoni on his windowsill to refrigerate, he stepped out for a walk. On his return, he found a flock of seagulls in his room, which had been enjoying the peperoni, but not the digestive consequences.

The panicked birds struggled to escape, creating “a tornado of seagull excrement, feathers, pepperoni chunks and fairly large birds whipping around the room”. By opening the window, Burchill managed to shoo out most of the animals. He threw a shoe at one of the more stubborn gulls, which resulted in both shoe and bird falling from the window.

One seagull remained, still with pepperoni in its beak. Burchill detained it with a bath towel, which he also threw out of the window, onto unsuspecting guests below. The mess and chaos had Burchill banned from the hotel, until he appealed for pardon this year. The hotel agreed he had served his time.


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