20% increase in online purchases as Jersey shoppers slam the cost of buying local

New research has revealed shoppers enjoy good customer service, opening hours, and the experience of a trip to town, but the cost and limited choice means some prefer to shop online. Credit: ITV Channel

People in Jersey are buying from online retailers 20% more than they were five years ago, as shoppers surveyed slam buying on-island for being "expensive" and "lacking choice".

More than 1,500 people took part in a study carried out by market research firm 4insight, exploring how shoppers' opinions have shifted since the island went into lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those who took part in the survey reported making 90% of their purchases from Jersey shops - a 1% drop compared to 2018 figures.

Heading off the island for a shopping trip is also less popular than it used to be, with 44% of people saying they recently bought something off-island compared to 54% five years ago.

By contrast, online sales are growing. Jersey-based e-commerce purchases have grown from 8% in 2018 to 14% in 2023, while 15% of people reported using online click-and-collect services - something that didn't exist in Jersey five years ago.

A big price difference, a wider range of discounts or offers, and the convenience of doorstep delivery were among the reasons Jersey shoppers chose to buy from e-commerce sites.

However, postage charges, having to pay VAT and GST and the impact on the economy were some of the disadvantages reported.

Jersey residents describe the experience of shopping on-island. Credit: 4insight

Shoppers said good customer service, opening hours, and the experience of walking through St Helier were some of the things they enjoyed the most about shopping on-island, while the cost, range of shops and choice of items were the least satisfying.

Islanders said more discounts and promotions, a wider range of brands, independent shops and extended opening hours would encourage them to shop more on-island.

The survey found there was significant interest from shoppers in Sunday and more regular late-night shopping.

Supermarkets were most often used to buy groceries, with shoppers citing convenience and choice as the main factors.

Farm shops were considered to have better quality products while using less packaging, but coming at a premium price. Farm shops are seeing 7% more visitors than they did in 2018.

Many shoppers said they would like to "buy local", but the rising cost of living has meant people are having to go with the cheapest option - whether that means swapping out big names for own-brand products or shopping online.

Convenience and cost means most Jersey shoppers buy their groceries from supermarkets. Credit: ITV Channel

Jersey's Economic Development Minister, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said... "This survey shows several changing patterns in consumer behaviour and new expectations which will help to inform our retail strategy due to be published next year.

"Importantly, there is significant room for transformation in the sector to continue to provide a diverse and attractive offering for locals and visitors alike.

"As with our visitor economy strategy, we will be working closely with the industry to inform our policy direction and this survey provides a useful data set to continue that conversation."

The research was commissioned by the island's government to review people's perceptions of the island's retail sector, with the information eventually being used to shape future strategies and policies.

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