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Researching and Buying Technology Products - UK - June 2013

“Younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to shop across online and in-store channels. In the years to come, as the 25-34s mature they are likely to keep these shopping habits, making a multichannel approach the standard way to research and buy technology. This evolution of the technology shopper makes it important that retailers and brands ensure full integration between their stores and their digital portals; an holistic approach to retail channels, treating them as multiple paths to a brand that the consumer could travel interchangeably, rather than separate pipelines with little to no crossover, will ultimately yield rewards.”

– Samuel Gee, Technology Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • Should tablets and smartphones be grouped together or is this causing confusion for consumers?
  • What impact will online competitors have on bricks-and-mortar retailers?
  • Are the next generation of shoppers likely to be multichannel?
  • How can retailers play an important part in providing unbiased information to shoppers?

The process of researching and purchasing technology has changed drastically in the last few years.

Pure-play online retailers have always held an advantage in pure price terms (as they do not have to build the cost of overheads and staff into their prices), and the advent of the social web led swiftly to the rise of the eminently informed consumer.

Shoppers can now get their research and purchasing done without ever leaving the digital space – so what is it that still attracts them to stores, which account for a greater proportion of technology purchases in 2013 than digital destinations?

This report looks at where consumers purchase their technology, how they research technology before they buy it, their attitudes towards researching and buying technology, how they research and buy technology on smartphones and tablets and what would make consumers purchase technology more in-store.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Plans for purchase or upgrade of consumer technology products in the next three months, January 2013 and April 2013
            • Market factors
              • Internet access from smartphones and tablets increasing
                • Multichannel shopping on the rise
                  • Pop-up stores allow manufacturers and online pure-plays to connect to customers
                    • Companies, brands and innovations
                      • The consumer
                        • Where do consumers purchase their technology?
                          • Figure 2: Locations from which consumers purchased technology, April 2013
                        • How do consumers research technology purchases?
                          • Figure 3: Research sources used by consumers when buying technology, April 2013
                        • Attitudes towards researching and buying technology
                          • Figure 4: Attitudes towards researching and buying technology, April 2013
                        • Researching and buying on smartphones and tablets
                          • Figure 5: Use of a smartphone or tablet to research and buy technology products, April 2013
                        • What would make consumers buy more technology in-store?
                          • Figure 6: Factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, April 2013
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                            • ‘Mobile device’ is misleading; tablets and smartphones should not necessarily be grouped together
                              • The issues
                                • The implications
                                  • Showrooming a problem for bricks-and-mortar retailers losing sales to online competitors
                                    • The issues
                                      • The implications
                                        • Next generation of shoppers likely to be multichannel
                                          • The issues
                                            • The implications
                                              • Retailers play an important part in providing unbiased information to shoppers
                                                • The issues
                                                  • The implications
                                                  • Trend Application

                                                      • Trend: Experience is All
                                                        • Trend: Who Needs Humans?
                                                          • Mintel Futures: Human
                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Smartphones the most likely thing to be purchased in the next three months
                                                                • Figure 7: Plans for purchase or upgrade of consumer technology products in the next three months, January 2013 and April 2013
                                                              • Retail activity from smartphones increases
                                                                • Figure 8: Devices used to access the internet in the last three months, with percentage point change from September 2012, January 2013
                                                                • Figure 9: Proportion of smartphone owners who accessed retail applications through their devices in February 2011, February 2012 and February 2013
                                                              • Consumers more likely to shop from tablets
                                                                • Figure 10: Top ten online activities performed on computers, smartphones and tablets, April 2013
                                                              • Over half of consumers multichannel shop
                                                                • Figure 11: Browsing and buying from home, May 2012
                                                              • Bricks-and-mortar retailers looking to overcome showrooming
                                                                • Widening income gap may make consumers more price-conscious
                                                                  • Figure 12: Retail price index against wage growth for regular pay (excluding bonuses), March 2007-March 2013
                                                                • Pop-up shops provide a more hands-on, highly branded experience
                                                                  • Top electronics retailers show positive variety
                                                                    • Figure 13: Share of consumer spending on electrical/electronic goods adjusted to exclude VAT at annual average rates, 2012
                                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Fresh attempts to bring together brands and product evangelists
                                                                      • Reevoo takes consumer reviews offline for multichannel marketing
                                                                        • John Lewis augments the high street to promote smart televisions
                                                                          • PC World and Currys target last-minute shoppers with train trolleys
                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                              • Amazon.com Inc.
                                                                                  • Figure 14: Amazon.com financial results, 2010-12
                                                                                • Apple Retail UK
                                                                                    • Figure 15: Key financials, Apple Retail UK, 2009-12
                                                                                  • Argos
                                                                                      • Figure 16: Key financials, Argos, 2009-12
                                                                                    • Dixons Retail plc
                                                                                        • Figure 17: Key financials, Dixons Retail UK & Ireland, 2009-12
                                                                                      • John Lewis plc
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Key financials, John Lewis, 2009-12
                                                                                      • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Manufacturers dominate top adspend positions
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Top 20 companies, by technology* adspend, 2009-12
                                                                                          • TV still accounts for the largest minority of adspend
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Adspend for technology*, by media type, 2009-12
                                                                                          • Tablet adspend explodes after 2010
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Adspend for smartphones, televisions, tablets, computers, cameras and consoles, 2009-12
                                                                                        • Where Do Consumers Buy Their Technology?

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Most shopping still done in-store
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Locations from which consumers purchased technology, April 2013
                                                                                            • Static technology buyers favour bricks-and-mortar over digital shops
                                                                                              • Figure 23: Purchases of technology, by type of retailer used, April 2013
                                                                                            • Supermarkets have the biggest difference between in-store and online buying
                                                                                              • Figure 24: Proportion of consumers who purchase in-store and on the websites of supermarkets, specialist and generalist electronic retailers, April 2013
                                                                                            • Less affluent consumers tend to shop in-store
                                                                                              • Figure 25: Purchase of any technology online or in-store, by gross annual average household income, November 2013
                                                                                          • How do Consumers Research Technology Purchases?

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Bigger-ticket technology items more commonly researched offline
                                                                                                • Figure 26: Research sources used by consumers when buying technology, April 2013
                                                                                              • TV research
                                                                                                • Figure 27: Research sources used by consumers to purchase TVs, April 2013
                                                                                              • Tablet research
                                                                                                • Figure 28: Research sources used by consumers to purchase tablets, April 2013
                                                                                              • Smartphone research
                                                                                                • Figure 29: Research sources used by consumers to purchase smartphones, April 2013
                                                                                              • Laptop/desktop research
                                                                                                • Figure 30: Research sources used by consumers to purchase laptop/desktop computers, April 2013
                                                                                              • Camera research
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Research sources used by consumers to purchase cameras, April 2013
                                                                                              • Games console research
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Research sources used by consumers to purchase games consoles, April 2013
                                                                                            • Attitudes Towards Researching and Buying Technology

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Hands-on experience important for portable device sales
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Attitudes towards researching and buying technology, April 2013
                                                                                                • Younger consumers more likely to seek out multichannel
                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Proportion of consumers who would prefer to browse technology in-store and then buy online from the same or a different retailer, by age, April 2013
                                                                                                • Newer device categories escape in-store bias from older consumers
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Preference for purchasing technology in-store rather than online, by 16-24s and over-65s, April 2013
                                                                                              • Researching and Buying on Smartphones and Tablets

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Almost half of all tablet and smartphone owners using devices to research purchases
                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Use of a smartphone or tablet to research and buy technology products, April 2013
                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Use of a manufacturer or retailer website to research technology products, April 2013
                                                                                                  • Smartphone and tablet research: app vs website use
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Use of a specific app, retailer or manufacturer’s website to research technology on a smartphone, by age, April 2013
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Use of a specific app, retailer or manufacturer’s website to research technology on a tablet, by age, April 2013
                                                                                                  • Tablet owners more likely to purchase through their devices
                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Use of smartphones and tablets to purchase technology products, April 2013
                                                                                                  • Londoners significantly more likely to shop from tablets whilst in-store
                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Proportion of tablet owners who have used their tablet to purchase a technology product from a high street retailer’s website whilst in their or another retailer’s store, by region, April 2013
                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Proportion of consumers who have a tablet in the home, by region, January 2013
                                                                                                  • Women less comfortable purchasing technology
                                                                                                  • What Would Make Consumers Buy More Technology In-Store?

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Saving money a primary concern for consumers
                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, April 2013
                                                                                                      • Younger consumers are more likely to want a warranty
                                                                                                        • Differences hint at importance of the experience
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Where Do Consumers Buy Their Technology?

                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Locations at which consumers purchased technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Locations at which consumers purchased other technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Online locations at which consumers purchased all technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: In-store locations at which consumers purchased all technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Online locations at which consumers purchased a TV, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 49: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a TV, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Online locations at which consumers purchased portable technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 51: In-store locations at which consumers purchased portable technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 52: Online locations at which consumers purchased static technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 53: In-store locations at which consumers purchased static technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 54: Online locations at which consumers purchased a tablet, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 55: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a tablet, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Online locations at which consumers purchased a smartphone, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 57: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a smartphone, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 58: Online locations at which consumers purchased a laptop/desktop, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 59: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a laptop/desktop, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Online locations at which consumers purchased a camera, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 61: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a camera, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Online locations at which consumers purchased a games console, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 63: In-store locations at which consumers purchased a games console, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                        • Appendix – How do Consumers Research Technology Purchases?

                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Research sources used by consumers when buying technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Research sources used by consumers when buying other technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a TV, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a TV, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying portable technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying portable technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying static technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying static technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a tablet, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a tablet, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 76: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a smartphone, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 77: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a smartphone, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 78: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a laptop/desktop, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 79: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a laptop/desktop, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Most popular research sources used, by consumers when buying a camera, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 81: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a camera, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a games console, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Next most popular research sources used by consumers when buying a games console, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Researching and Buying Technology

                                                                                                            • Figure 84: Attitudes towards researching technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 85: Attitudes towards researching technology, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 86: Attitudes towards researching technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 87: Attitudes towards researching portable technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 88: Attitudes towards researching static technology, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 89: Attitudes towards researching a TV, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 90: Attitudes towards researching a tablet, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 91: Attitudes towards researching a smartphone, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 92: Attitudes towards researching a laptop/desktop, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 93: Attitudes towards researching a camera, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 94: Attitudes towards researching a games console, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                        • Appendix – Researching and Buying on Smartphones and Tablets

                                                                                                            • Figure 95: Researching and buying behaviours on smartphones and tablets, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 96: Researching and buying behaviours on smartphones and tablets, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 97: Most popular researching and buying behaviours on smartphones, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 98: Next most popular researching and buying behaviours on smartphones, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 99: Other researching and buying behaviours on smartphones, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 100: Most popular researching and buying behaviours on tablets, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 101: Next most popular researching and buying behaviours on tablets, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 102: Other researching and buying behaviours on tablets, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                        • Appendix – What Would Make Consumers Buy More Technology In-Store?

                                                                                                            • Figure 103: Factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 104: Factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, by most popular factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 105: Factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, by next most popular factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 106: Most popular factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, by demographics, April 2013
                                                                                                            • Figure 107: Next most popular factors that would induce consumers to buy more in-store, by demographics, April 2013

                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                        • Acer
                                                                                                        • Amazon.co.uk
                                                                                                        • Amazon.com Inc
                                                                                                        • Apple Computer UK Ltd
                                                                                                        • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                        • Dixons Retail Plc
                                                                                                        • Google UK
                                                                                                        • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                        • HTC
                                                                                                        • Hutchison 3G UK Limited
                                                                                                        • Intel Corporation
                                                                                                        • John Lewis Partnership
                                                                                                        • Lenovo Group Limited
                                                                                                        • LG Electronics (UK)
                                                                                                        • Microsoft Ltd (UK)
                                                                                                        • Motorola Mobility Holdings
                                                                                                        • Nokia Corporation (UK)
                                                                                                        • PC World (DSG UK Computing)
                                                                                                        • Phones 4U Ltd
                                                                                                        • Research in Motion Uk Ltd.
                                                                                                        • Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                        • Sony (UK) Ltd

                                                                                                        Researching and Buying Technology Products - UK - June 2013

                                                                                                        £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)