Latest research from MINTEL finds that in the UK last year Internet shopping overtook mail order catalogues as the most popular form of home shopping for the first time ever. While in 2004 one in three (32%) adults had bought products via the Internet in the previous 12 months, up from just 9% in 2000, interest in mail order catalogues has fallen dramatically. In 2004 just one in four (25%) had bought from a catalogue compared to over half (53%) just 4 years earlier. ” Mail order has failed to change or diversify sufficiently to appeal to today’s more demanding and sophisticated home shopping audience and Mintel believes that the situation is largely the same across Europe. Home shopping retailers must admit that the days of the big book are over and that the great hope of the home shopping industry is, or should be, the Internet. The trouble with the mail order industry at the moment is that it tends to see the Internet as a threat, where it should be seen as an opportunity. The Internet is still seen by many as an exciting, new and convenient way to home shop, while catalogues are often seen as old fashioned and downmarket, ” explains Richard Perks, Director of Retail Research at MINTEL.

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