76 Percent of Online Shoppers to Use Click and Collect by 2017

LondonApril 8, 2014—New research by Planet Retail shows that the number of UK shoppers using click and collect is poised to more than double by 2017. Currently, 35 percent of online shoppers in the UK buy online and self-collect, compared to 13 percent in the U.S. and 5 percent in Germany. Within the next three years, Planet Retail expects this figure to jump to 76 percent of online shoppers in the UK.

Natalie Berg, global research director at Planet Retail, commented: “Click and collect is poised for explosive growth in the UK. Shoppers are already accustomed to browsing and transacting on their own terms—choice in fulfilment is the final piece to the puzzle. Within the next three years, we’re expecting more than three-quarters of online shoppers to collect their own items.

“Two of the biggest barriers to buying online are cost of delivery and inconvenient delivery times, making click and collect an increasingly attractive option for both shoppers and retailers. Fulfilment is poised to be the next big battleground in retail.”

However, Planet Retail warns that retailers aren’t doing enough to cater to this shifting shopping behavior. Despite the UK being a hotbed for click and collect, only two-thirds of the top 50 retailers currently offer the service. What’s more, only 14 percent offer more than one collection option (i.e. in-store collection, locker, third-party store).

“Retailers should be readying themselves for this massive shift in shopping behavior and thinking beyond traditional collection points. Train stations, schools and even shoppers’ own cars could be the collection points of the future. Retailers must be prepared to forge relationships with some unconventional partners in pursuit of better serving the customer,” Berg added.

In its latest report, “UK Click  and Collect: Retail Fad or Future of the High Street?,” Planet Retail highlights strategic partnerships such as eBay/Argos and CollectPlus/Westfield, and calls out best-practice examples from John Lewis, Next, Amazon, Tesco and Asda, among others.

Neil Ashworth, CEO of CollectPlus, the UK’s largest store-based parcel delivery and returns service, commented: “Planet Retail’s research demonstrates just how important delivery services are to online shoppers. This is the area the consumer may take control of next. They already took control of the way in which they shop and, while there’s an awful lot of talk about immediacy, what customers want first and foremost is reliable delivery, rather than speed. Click and collect allows shoppers to take control. It works for them because it’s on their terms.

“The key to success for retailers is having a distinctive proposition. Those retailers that are true to themselves, those that are the same retailer online as offline and maintain their proposition to the customer are the ones that have opportunity to succeed. The trick is not to delay. The technology available today is far more accessible than it was just 15 to 20 years ago. You don’t need to build from scratch. Dive in, but retain your identity.”

Key Findings

  • 35 percent of online shoppers in the UK currently click and collect, compared to 13 percent in the U.S. and 5 percent in Germany.
  • That figure will more than double within the next three years: 76 percent of online shoppers in the UK will self-collect by 2017.
  • Despite being a hotbed for click and collect, only two-thirds of the top 50 retailers offer the service.
  • More needs to be done: The most successful retailers are placing click and collect at the heart of their multi-channel strategies, and justifying their store presence. For example, click and collect accounts for 45 percent of Next’s online orders, while 57 percent of click and collect orders through John Lewis are picked up at sister brand Waitrose’s stores. 
  • Growth is to be driven by the continued rollout of in-store collection, as well as alternative pick-up points, such as lockers—currently used by 4 percent of online shoppers—and third-party stores—currently used by 12 percent of shoppers.
  • The No. 1 barrier to shopping online is the cost of delivery. Similarly, Planet Retail research shows that one in four online shoppers are deterred by inconvenient delivery times.