TVs, tablets, smart phones, game consoles, toys, lap tops and clothing. These are just some of the items being ordered in large numbers online by Trinbagonians for the Christmas season. Alongside crowded stores in the Malls and in cities like Port-of-Spain virtual crowds are also online shopping, creating a boom as Trinbagonians spend more each year on Internet purchases. Armed with a credit card and a smart phone or a tablet, Trinbagonians have joined the global trend of an online Christmas shopping spree. Tablets and smart phones are changing the way people buy and yes, they way they sell too.
The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index indicate that in Britain there was an estimated ?10.1 billion in online retail in November alone, up 20 percent from last year, when the figure was ?8.08billion. This was also a 30 percent increase on October’s sales, the highest monthly increase in ten years. The British retail analyst notes that mobile devices are now driving the majority of online purchase growth and now account for a massive 38 percent of total visits, up 58 percent on the same period last year.
There is also a growing trend of ‘dual-screen shopping’ where a person watches TV whilst browsing a tablet, smart phone or lap top at the same time. Statistics show that 61 percent of Britons “dual-screen shop” and will immediately look up deals shown on TV and place orders online. According to IMRG Capgemini, stores which offer combined mobile, online and in-store shopping performed best! Their sales were up 23 percent, compared with 16 percent for those with only virtual stores. IMRG notes that this trend is likely to continue into next year as more consumers shift to handheld devices to shop online.
While there are no statistics for Trinidad and Tobago as yet, similar trends were seen. Gillian Clark, Managing Director of Aeropost Trinidad Limited agrees that Trinidad and Tobago is witnessing an internet shopping revolution. Clark notes “I believe all the local e-commerce companies would be seeing annual growth in business. We have been experiencing substantial, double digit growth every year in online purchases. There was a significant increase for the Christmas period starting in November and continuing. In fact, in just the first two weeks in December alone, we have surpassed the volume of online sales received in November last year.”
Clark continued “We have seen spikes in Christmas online purchases for electronics such as TV’s, tablets, smart phones, clothing, shoes, handbags. And this has been the trend for over three years or so.” Clark shared “I believe Trinidad and Tobago is experiencing an Internet shopping revolution because of the convenience of online shopping as well as huge deals like Black Friday sales on November 29. It has become more cost effective than shopping in the stores.”
TriniTrolley.com CEO Mazuree Colin Ali agrees also. “There has definitely been an internet shopping revolution in Trinidad over the last four years. If stores are not selling online, they will be left behind in the e-commerce revolution. We are providing a service and products many would not be able to receive without the internet.”
According to Graeme Suite, TSTT Head of Public Relations and External Affairs Ag “A smart phone is no longer just a phone but a hub of mobile apps that make our lives easier, more productive, more connected. We are witnessing an increase in m-commerce where no matter where they are, more Trinbagonians are using the Internet service on their smart phone or tablet to research products and services and do online shopping. Whether it is our blink / bmobile ‘Quad-Play’ Christmas promotion, or the continuing huge demand for our 4G service and devices, the key to unlocking better opportunities is access.”