ONLINE SALES SAP HIGH STREET SPIRIT

More and more music devotees are getting their music online, according to new research...

Consumers are deserting high street record stores in favour of online equivalents, according to new research.

With legal download sites like iTunes and Napster not even a year old in the UK, figures from released by pollsters TNS suggests that the popularity of downloading will soon start to hit the profits of bricks-and-mortar record stores, according to The Guardian.

After testing the entertainment spending habits of 10,000 consumers across the country, they found a massive increase in the numbers of people downloading tracks and buying CDs over the net.

Of people who download, the proportion they spend on CDs on the high street has fallen from 63% a year ago to 26% today. Meanwhile, the proportion spent on downloading has soared from 4% to 66%.

They found the actual number of downloaders to remain small, just 300,000 in the 16 weeks leading up to September 19, but with the portable players now becoming widespread rather than a lavish luxury, the figures will could worrying for the high street.

Ian Waymark, service director at TNS Audio Track said: “Downloading is driving a revolution in people’s relationship with music. Consumers are paying attention to the benefits such as convenience, choice and cost savings.”

He added: “Whilst traditional music retailers still hold the vast majority of the market, the rapid growth of downloading cannot be ignored. As downloading popularity increases, traditional retailers will have to find new ways of tempting consumers to keep spending with them.”