Consumers who shop using technology such as smartphones or the internet appear to take longer to make purchases today than in 2003.
That's the conclusion from an annual survey of 2,000 UK consumers by retail consultancy Conlumino, sponsored by retail property company Hammerson, and it says the research drew on a nationally representative sample.
Neil Saunders, managing director of Conlumino, said it is more difficult to get people buying things than it used to be.
"Most people own an abundance of products and don't have a pressing need to buy more. The problem for retailers is that this abundance can create complacency and boredom towards shopping," Saunders said.
"It's much more difficult to excite people than it used to be."
The study suggests that technology appears to have slowed down the purchasing process, rather than making it quicker.
Consumers polled reported spending 90 minutes browsing for products, compared with 50 minutes in 2003.
In 2003, the period of consideration before making a purchase was half a day, but in 2014 consumers take 3.5 days to think about it, according to the study.
However, the transaction itself is quicker – now six minutes, down from eight minutes in 2003.
"One of the solutions is to understand that shopping is about much more than buying things; it's about being entertained, having a day out, and about being inspired," Saunders opined.
"The retailers and shopping destinations that react to this change are much more likely to generate footfall and loyal shoppers who will visit again and again."
About 70 per cent of those surveyed also said they rarely buy anything at full price, and 60 per cent said they always wait for a discount or sale price. At the same time, they appeared willing to pay more for quality or something they really wanted, according to Conlumino and Hammerson.
Impulse buying was down too, and the average consumer appeared to be visiting twice as many stores regularly as in 2003.
David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson, said: "Shoppers nowadays can choose the channel they wish to shop with, when they shop, the price they wish to pay and they have a host of destination options. Retailers have to work harder than ever."
Conlumino and Hammerson's research is continuing and includes data from official sources (such as the BRC and ONS), retailers' results and trading updates, industry sources and other secondary sources.
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