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Online vs high street: where’s best for your Christmas shopping?

We reveal the secret to great Christmas shopping

Christmas presents

Doing your Christmas shopping online is more satisfying than on the high street

It’s a dilemma for all Christmas shoppers: is high street or online shopping best? 

Which? runs big annual surveys on both high street and online shopping – so we are uniquely placed to solve this dilemma. 

Now, for the first time, our experts have crunched the numbers to bring you the answer. And we can reveal… online shopping is the winner.  

Want to know where to shop online this Christmas? We reveal the best and worst online shops.

Online shopping secrets

Online shopping is the clear winner, receiving a customer score of 74% in 2015, compared to 65% for stores.

So what is it you like about online shopping? Anyone who has snuggled up with a laptop on a warm sofa rather than brave the shops in the rain will know convenience is a big factor. In fact, the top three reasons are:

  • Easier to find what I’m looking for (56%)
  • It is cheaper (53%)
  • Greater choice of products (51%)

To make online shopping even easier, our results can help you find the best shops for your needs. So if price is your main concern, look for a shop with a five-star rating for price. Or perhaps quality or deliveries is key? You can use our star ratings to find shops that measure up. 

See the best websites – and their star ratings – for buying electricals, DIY and decorating products and baby and child products.

Online vs the high street: how the stores compare

John Lewis is the only retailer to appear in the top 10 for both shopping online and on the high street, while EE sits at the very bottom of both tables.

Our research revealed some big differences in how some shops perform online, compared to on the high street. For example, Evans Cycles is ranked 81 places higher in store than online. It’s the only shop to get a lower score online than on the high street. Meanwhile, clothing chain Miss Selfridge is ranked 46 places higher online than in store.

High street shopping irritations 

Anyone who’s struggled to find a parking space and battled the crowds will know high street shopping has its drawbacks. But what is it exactly we find irritating about shopping on the high street? The top reasons are:

  • Unhelpful staff (43%)
  • Queueing (39%)
  • Shop crowds (39%)
  • Expensive prices (39%)
  • Poor shopping experience (39%)

But that’s not to say shopping on the high street doesn’t have its place. It lets you see and touch products before you buy, offers an atmosphere you don’t get online and can be much more of an experience.

So if you’re still a fan of shopping on the high street, see the full list of best and worst high street shops.

Our shopping research 

We crunched the results of two of our biggest annual surveys to pitch online vs high street shopping head to head for the first time. 

We asked 9,409 members of the public about their experience of shopping in store in February 2015. We also asked 10,505 members of the public about online shopping in July 2015. 

Shops that only appeared in one survey were excluded from our analysis, meaning the scores are based on 64 retailers.

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