Five interesting pieces of news this week that have caught my eye.
Opening today until Sunday 2 December, eBay has a social media-led pop-up shop in Covent Garden. eBay expects Sunday to be its busiest shopping day of the year, partly due to its forecast that 30% of products bought via eBay will be via smartphone.
The pop-up store will feature in-store screens that will display live feeds of what products people are recommending on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The store is part of a wider drive to encourage shoppers to download eBay’s apps, through which they can browse and shop products in-store, use QR codes, and facilitate shopping through augmented reality and 3D technologies.
eBay’s store opening coincides with a forecast from Deloitte that retail sales purchased on or influenced by smartphones will reach £3.5 billion this Christmas. It estimates that around £330 million of sales will be made directly through smartphones, with a further £500 million in sales coming through tablets. That people are likely to buy more and higher value products via tablets tells us about how some behaviour differs between the two types of device.
The remaining £3.2 billion of in-store sales will be influenced by smartphones, as people use them to research prices and discuss products prior to purchase with friends and family via social media. This reflects how people are using their smartphones throughout the purchase funnel and beyond, such as sharing and recommending purchases via social media.
One reason people use smartphones to investigate potential purchases is to get the best deals. According to Asda’s quarterly Mumdex survey of 5,500 of mothers who shop at the supermarket, just under half of mums (45%) say they will spend less on Christmas this year. However, rather than buying significantly fewer items at the supermarkets this Christmas, my view is that mums are more likely to replace branded purchases with own brand supermarket products
This change in purchase behaviour this Christmas is part of a greater change over the last year. According to research by Sainsbury’s, 83% of shoppers have changed their shopping habits this year. Ninety percent of shoppers now claim to write a shopping list prior to their shop, just over one third (37%) say they plan meals for the full week, and 28% claim to take a packed lunch to work. Just under two thirds (64%) look out for more special deals, and just over one fifth (22%) have special meals at home rather than eat out.
One last exciting piece of news for any whisky lovers, Lidl now has on its shelves a limited edition scotch which, according to the respected Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, is set to become a collector’s item. Jim Murray has given the £39.99 Maxwell Single Malt Scotch Whisky a score of 95 out of 100. Last year, a rare bottle of Matisse Caperdonich 1972 - also awarded 95 by Murray - was auctioned for £1,000. This offer demonstrates the increasing profile of the retailer, and how it is a rising threat to the more established supermarkets, as its recent sales figures suggest.