The Evolution of the Path to Purchase

Today Savvy has announced the findings of its latest multichannel shopper research, providing an updated perspective on the shopper’s path to purchase. The findings highlight the increasing importance of digital retailing – which now influences a staggering 69 percent of purchases costing more than £20.

Increasingly media rich retailer websites, the rise of social media and more flexible delivery options are making online shopping more and more compelling for shoppers to use for both researching and buying products. Spending plans span both online and stores, as well as overlapping between them – shoppers have become channel-agnostic and are prolific in their use of each and all. Smartphones too play an important role, particularly amongst younger shoppers.

It’s natural that the growth of digital raises questions about the future of physical ‘high street’ retailing, but the bricks and mortar stores will always have an important role to play because they offer immediate gratification and because shopping remains a key leisure activity and a source of enjoyment for many. That said, the role of stores and high streets is evolving.

As online increases retail capacity, stores need to fight harder to attract footfall and give shoppers clear reasons to visit above and beyond what a pure online experience can offer. Retail theatre has never been so important. Delivering that experience is expensive though so realistically can only work effectively if investment is concentrated into fewer, larger stores. We’re already seeing this happening and it’s driving a concentration of retail centres. Major cities like London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow continue to attract investment, footfall and shopper spend, while secondary centres are often seeing footfall diminish. This trend is set to continue.

Key statistics:

  • Top line:
    • When considering the last product that shoppers bought for more than £20, 53 percent of shoppers purchased it online for home delivery, 39 percent instore and eight percent ordered by online click and collect
  • Number of sources:
    • When making purchases over £20, shoppers currently use an average of 2.2 sources of research and as the cost of a product increases, so too does the number of sources they are likely to consult.
  • Key sources for research:
    • Retailers themselves are the most popular source with 51 percent of shoppers using their sites for this purpose.
    • 49 percent of shoppers visited stores for research purposes
    • 22 percent of shoppers used product manufacturers’ websites.
    • Blogs/websites also play an important role for shoppers with 17 percent using them for research.
    • Interestingly social media was used for research by just six percent of shoppers
  • Rich media:
    • Shoppers appetite for rich media content is growing. Indeed 90 percent of clothing shoppers want 360 degree images of products and 88 percent want the ability to zoom in on fabrics.
    • 60 percent of clothing shoppers also want video content featuring the products (e.g. catwalks) – something that can increase dwell time and improve propensity to buy.
  • Generation Y:
    • These young shoppers (aged 18-34 years old) currently represent 31 percent of all UK shoppers.
    • 90 percent of this generation have bought online in the past six months.
    • 93 percent of these shoppers own a smartphone.


If you would like to see the full report including all the findings, please contact Caroline Kay –