Asos boss Nick Robertson has questioned what role the physical store will play for the next generation of shoppers.
Robertson told the World Retail Congress that the store environment would feel limited compared to the endless opportunities online offers consumers.
He said: “Our 20 year old customer has been brought up in a digital world. If you ask how much of their clothes they buy online it’s 30, 40, 50%. The 10 year olds of today will see the box experience as strained.”
Both the Asos boss and US retail group HSN Inc chief executive Mindy Grossman urged retailers to invest in mobile to maximise the most of shoppers’ migration to online.
Grossman said: “My advice would be think mobile as that’s where people are looking for everything. It’s the go-to device. If you’re not mobile first, you’ve lost the most important point of connection.”
Google UK managing director Dan Cobley agreed with the pair and said search figures showed that the mobile is becoming an increasingly important channel.
He said: “This time a year ago 10% of searches came from mobile, now it’s 25%. It’s going to be 50% soon.”
Bigger sites such as Amazon and eBay looked set to benefit from the growth of mobile according to Robertson.
He said: “People aren’t going to use 15 to 20 sites in one sitting; they will migrate to bigger ones where they can get everything.”