High Streets Initiative · 10 April 2017

Browsing time of South West England shoppers is twice as long as that of Londoners

South West
Falmouth, Cornwall, where browsing is more of a “thing”

Customers at bricks and mortar shops in the South West of England spend more browsing time than those in any other UK region, new research has revealed.

A survey, conducted by in-store point of purchase tech company DisplayMode, found that customers in the region spend an average browsing time of two hours and 20 minutes each week.

By contrast, shoppers in London spend on average just one hour and 24 minutes each week – almost half that time.

The South East and North East of England were also found to rank highly in terms of how long shoppers spent browsing in-store without buying. Consumers’ average browsing time was two hours five minutes and two hours respectively in each region.

In the survey, nearly 3,000 UK adults, aged 18 and over, were quizzed about their weekly browsing time and shopping habits, with respondents spread equally across 12 British regions.

Participants were asked two questions. Firstly, they were asked whether they thought they spent a “longer than average” amount of time browsing items in shops, to which some 68 per cent said that they did.

Respondents were then asked how long they believed they spent borrowing each week, from which researchers were able to determine the average time for shoppers in each region.

Commenting on the findings, DisplayMode managing director Leon Edwards, said: “What’s clear is that we can’t treat all shoppers the same, they simply aren’t a homogenous group.”

The survey also revealed the average amount of money consumers spent on groceries and other amenities in shops weekly, in each region. Despite people in London spending the shortest average time browsing, the capital’s shoppers spend the most money, averaging £98 per week.

Customers in the South East and East of England spend on average £92 and £87 per week in-store respectively, whilst those in the East Midlands spend the least, averaging just £42 per week.

Although they browse for longer periods than in any other UK region, shoppers in the South West of England spend relatively little – around £71 a week on average – putting the region in sixth place in terms of the areas of the country where shoppers spend most money on everyday items.

“It’s apparent from this study that high browsing times don’t always translate to purchases and certainly don’t translate into higher value sales,” Edwards added.

We must work harder to find a way to help customers with different needs, or at different buying stages, to get to the till quicker and more frequently. It will be a win-win for all concerned.”

The average weekly browsing time of shoppers in 12 UK regions

Region Average browsing time, each week
South West of England Two hours 20 minutes
South East of England Two hours five minutes
North East of England Two hours
Yorkshire One hour 50 minutes
Scotland One hour 47 minutes
Northern Ireland One hour 40 minutes
West Midlands One hour 40 minutes
North West of England One hour 37 minutes
Wales One hour 30 minutes
 East Midlands One hour 24 minutes
London One hour 20 minutes
East of England One hour 15 minutes

Please share your views with us on the challenges facing high streets today in our quick two-minute High Streets Initiative survey.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the High Streets Initiative, a new section of Business Advice championing independent and small retailers by identifying the issues that put Britain’s high streets under pressure. Visit our High Streets Initiative section to find out more.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.