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UK online shopping habit tops global spending survey

Authored by Phil Meekin

Phil Meekin

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Approximate read time: 3 minutes

A new report from the UK Cards Association found that per household, the UK spent more online shopping than consumers in any other country. UK Cards Association found that per household, the UK spent more online shopping than consumers in any other country. In 2015, households in the UK spent around £4,611 using payment card online showcasing the shift from shopping in store to shopping online.

The amount spent online in 2015 by UK households beat Norway, the US and Australia as the ease of having items delivered helped push up online sales. In 2016, £154bn was spent online via card purchases, this figure is up by a quarter in the last two years.

Online retail businesses seem like the most obvious benefactor of this upward trend in sales online but entertainment purchases account for one in four online card purchases in the UK. The entertainment sector includes cinema and concert tickets, music downloads and orders from takeaways; around 67% of concert ticket spending is made online while cinema, theatre and dance spending stands at around 61%.

Other businesses benefiting from this rise in online sales are insurance and financial services with around 27% of what was spent online accounting for these sectors. This is due to the ease and popularity of renewing insurance cover online as well as the speed and simplicity of paying money into bank accounts over the internet.

However, sectors that are struggling to make an impact online, or have the least activity online, include pawn shops, pubs and the grocery sector; the latter has struggled to make a mark on the internet and still sees the majority of card payments made in store.

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Although fashion, including clothing, footwear and accessories, is a sector to benefit greatly from the internet it has not been easy for everyone to adapt. As internet only retailers including the likes of Asos see business booming, longstanding names such as Debenhams and M&S are finding it difficult to make a mark online.

With many retailers, including Debenhams, planning on shutting High Street stores to provide them with the opportunity to refocus their marketing strategy to include online and mobile as that is where the most interaction is.

As security for online purchases improves, it has only helped to fuel the rise in shopping online alongside the convenience of having items delivered to your home or place of work. With additional security features giving shoppers peace of mind over their purchases, it has encouraged more and more people to use online shopping.

However, the downside to all this is the potential of shopping addiction becoming a real problem in the UK. Money and Mental Health Policy Institute have recently released a report which suggests that 24-hour online shopping means “consumers who struggle to control their spending find themselves at greater risk than ever before.”

With targeted emails and advertising by brands based on what you have already purchased, they are much more likely to grab a sale from you but the question is, is it a sale which is necessary or one that is based on compulsive buying to be regretted at a later date?

Regardless of your opinions of shopping online, it is most definitely here to stay with numbers of sales and the amount spent rising year on year. For many businesses, online gives them a platform to advertise, communicate and make money while for others it can be a struggle to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology.

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