By Daniel Hunter

SME retailers are set to lose out on £200m by not offering Click & Collect services, according to to new research.

The research by innovative parcel service InPost and retail analysts Conlumino shows that 50% of UK shoppers are set to switch to larger retailers for Christmas presents, with 39% of SMEs feeling like they'll lose out.

While Christmas gift spend is expected to reach just shy of £8.5bn this year, shoppers are only planning to allocate 13.2% to SME chains and local independents.

Price (39.4%) and product range (24.6%) are inevitably the key drivers of spend, but factors relating to convenience, such as delivery and pick up options, also play a major role (21.2%) and can sometimes make the crucial difference.

Click & Collect to a store or locations such as automated lockers will account for 7.8% of gift spend (over £700m), with almost a third (29.5%) of consumers intend to use Click & Collect services this Christmas. But with less than a fifth of SMEs (18%) offering such a service, compared to 60% of large retailers, SMEs could lose out to the tune of an estimated £200m during this critical time of year for the retail sector.

Over half (51.3%) of SMEs acknowledge this as a key reason why shoppers will switch, yet 42% of consumers who confess to favouring larger retailers could be swayed by smaller chains that offer online ordering and convenient delivery options.

The younger shopper is the most demanding when it comes to the convenience of Christmas shopping and the fulfilment of gift orders. Over two-thirds (69%) of 25-34 year olds choose to make the switch to larger retailers at Christmas time versus 40% of those aged 65 and over. Half (50%) of those aged 18-44 admit they would be more likely to shop at smaller chains if they offered online shopping and home delivery. Forty-seven percent said they would use them if they offered Click & Collect services.

Neil Saunders, Managing Director of Conlumino, said: "The good news for smaller retailers is that while many claim to be planning to switch, almost half (49%) of shoppers say they’d actually prefer to give them their custom rather than the big fish. However, they need the reassurance that they’ll be able to get what they want, when they want it."

Jonathan Smith, Chairman of InPost UK, said: "Overall, two-thirds (64%) of retailers agree online shoppers are demanding more convenient fulfilment options and it’s having an impact on how they’ll spend this season. Therefore improving fulfilment capabilities is one way for smaller retailers to fight back this Christmas.”

The research comes a day before shoppers are urged to go local for Small Business Saturday.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness