60% of UK households now have computers at home and 80% have broadband access. The Internet is the fastest growing retail sector, but sales over the Internet account for less than 4% of total retail sales*. Our research ‘Motoring towards 2050: Shopping and Transport Policy’ goes someway to account for this as almost 80% of online shoppers have told us that they still like to ‘touch and feel’ products in bricks and mortar shops before they buy.
At the Smarter Moving Conference in the NEC tomorrow I will be talking to delegates about this issue. The main message is that we all need to be cautious about assuming e-shopping and other e-applications will automatically have a travel reduction and environmental effect. Shopping delivery schedules and how people use the extra time and consequently their vehicles afforded by virtual shopping all has an impact, and some people are much more suited to online shopping than others. Overall we support the development and use of smarter methods such as online shopping as they can have an impact on congestion and pollution as part of a ‘package’ of transport measures.
The full research is available on the RAC Foundation website.
* Statistics from the British Retail Consortium Retail Key Facts