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Grey pound to drive 2013 growth

Shoppers aged 55 and over will drive the growth of online purchasing in 2013, a new report has predicted.

A study by business analytics firm SAS and research agency Verdict suggests that 16-24 year olds will continue to feel economic pressure, while those aged 65+ are working more than they used to.

As a result, the grey pound is likely to be the most lucrative one for retailers to chase, and the two research organisations said businesses should “re-think how they approach technology and customer service to cater for this growing market”.

International business will continue to be the main source of growth for British retailers, the report said. The study predicted that across retail as a whole, the UK would see a 1.8% growth in spend, hitting £300.7bn by the end of 2013.

Although this is still down on pre-recession levels, it is the highest rate of expected growth since that point - although it is largely being driven by price inflation, particularly for food.
Ruth Jackson, retail consultant at SAS, said: “Shoppers want a consistent customer experience and so retailers must adopt an omnichannel approach to understand their behaviour, and successfully deploy strategies across all channels.

“Interestingly, the findings show that the role of a retailer is evolving with more demand for home delivery and click-and-collect services. Customers now expect retailers to literally go the extra mile to meet their demands, meaning they need to extend supply chain capabilities and re-consider how they run their end-to-end operations.”

Jackson added: “It’s vital that they have the solutions in place to understand and predict the increasingly complex and changing nature of customer behaviour, so as to make the best real-time decisions about products, services and how to communicate with their customers.”

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