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This Britain

Supermarkets weep as phones foil impulse buys


You know that magic moment at the supermarket checkout when you suddenly decide you want to buy some gum, chocolate, or a copy of Cosmopolitan?

No? Probably because you’re staring at your smartphone. Known as the “mobile blinder”, data released last Thursday by the Alliance for Audited Media show that impulse buying at the till is suffering as customers opt to whip out their phones instead.

This is happening to such an extent that in the US single-copy sales of magazines dropped by 9.5 per cent last year.

But all is not lost. According to Matthew Correll of the retail design consultancy Cada Design Group, there are already ways businesses can reconnect with phone-bound consumers.

He says: “Technological developments such as nearfield communication, where the customer can access product information and use the phone as a debit card, can be used a mode of engagement.” In other words: still buy stuff. In the meantime, don’t be surprised if supermarkets simply resort to signs declaring: “OMG IT’S A BOGOF!”