UK shoppers are turning to websites overseas in search of a better bargain, says PwC

Kasmira Jefford
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PwC's survey showed consumers are increasingly prepared to purchase from an overseas online retailer (Source: Getty)

Better prices would drive two thirds of UK consumers to shop from an online retailer outside of the country, according to a report that reveals dramatic changes in shopping behaviour over the last year.

Accountancy firm PwC surveyed nearly 23,000 people across six continents about their shopping habits for its annual Total Retail report released today.

The report found that the 1,000 UK consumers surveyed were heavily reliant on social media, with 77 per cent of people aged 18-35 using sites such as YouTube or Pinterest to help them decide what to buy.

Some 71 per cent of UK shoppers said they are more likely to make a purchase after a recommendation on social media.

Over half of Britons surveyed (55 per cent) said they chose to buy online due to convenience compared with 37 per cent who said they were lured by better prices. The opposite was true for shoppers worldwide, with 60 per cent citing price.

PwC said that the appeal of a bargain would also drive shoppers to look outside of their country for a product, with 70 per cent of UK consumers saying they expect to buy goods from an out-of-country online retailer in the next year.

Footfall to stores has suffered as a result of the growing popularity of online shopping. However 70 per cent of people in the UK still visit a shop at least once a month, PwC said, showing that they still play an important role.

The survey showed that, except for entertainment such as films, toys and sports gears, more than half of consumers worldwide prefer to buy their goods in stores. Over 52 per cent of people, for example, prefer to buy electronics and computers in physical stores while 47 per cent research these products online.

Madeleine Thomson, UK retail and consumer leader at PwC, said: “Digital technology means the barriers to entry are crumbling: 73 per cent of the people surveyed rank Amazon in their top three retailers – a retailer that has no physical stores.”

She added: “UK retailers must continue to tread the fine line between ‘clicks’ versus ‘bricks’, as advances in mobile phone technology, online sales and deliveries alongside shop and collect services mean the focus shifts away from the traditional trip to the high street."

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