UK shoppers are paying an average of almost 32 per cent more for goods on the High Street than online, research has found.
Price comparison website PriceRunner.co.uk found that a specific basket of goods, including an 8GB iPod and a Canon PowerShot camera, cost an average of £2,231.55 at bricks and mortar stores, compared to the best online price of £1,785.11 (including delivery charges).
The other products on the shopping list were: 40-inch Sony Bravia TV, Wii sports package, Bosch Tassimo coffee maker, Hotpoint Aquarius washing machine, Dyson DC14 Origin vacuum cleaner, DKNY Ladies' Watch, Nike Air Zoom Trainers, Yves Saint Laurent concealer.
The typical percentage mark up, or "high street tax", was 31.79 per cent, but was as low as 7 per cent for the iPod.
PriceRunner conducted a mystery shop in 11 cities across Britain, walking the length of at least one major high street per city and collecting as many prices as possible for the 10 items. Manchester was found to be the most expensive city, and Sheffield the cheapest.
Marc Thomas, UK manager for PriceRunner.co.uk, said: “Consumers are paying the price for shopping on the high street. 95 per cent of all the prices we found could be beaten online and the average mark-up on the best online price was a massive 31.79 per cent. That’s High Street robbery.
“There is obviously a cost associated with having a High Street presence and some of that has to be passed on to the consumer. But with such variations in prices not only between cities but also between two ends of the same high street, consumers must not be fooled by in-store price points. The evidence is clear – it is cheaper to make your eventual purchase online and have the product delivered to your home.”