New research commissioned by Visa shows that nine in ten Brits (89%) have used online shopping since the UK’s lockdown restrictions came into force; 31% purchasing something for the first time. The research also reveals of those that have made purchases, fitness and gym equipment (34%), education services (34%) and plants (33%) have been the most popular items being bought for the first time online, with a third (34%) of Britons saying they now prefer shopping online to physical retailers.
Despite 54% of those surveyed saying they have cut back on non-essential spending, home décor was at the top of many online shopping lists, with over a third (36%) of Britons purchasing DIY essentials, plants, furniture or home furnishings during the lockdown. Interestingly, fitness equipment and gym gear were 62% more popular for those living in London, as many turned their homes into makeshift workout spaces.
Top items purchased online during lockdown period:
- Groceries (41%)
- Clothing and accessories (37%)
- Books, games and puzzles (31%)
- DIY supplies (21%)
- Electronics & hobby supplies (both 18%)
New habits take root
Surveying 2,000 UK respondents, the research showed the uptake of subscription services was one of the biggest changes in shopping habits; 39% have signed up to a new subscription in the last three months. Although TV, film and music streaming services were responsible for the majority of new subscriptions, more than one in ten (13%) signed up to grocery and fresh produce boxes, meal delivery kits, or fitness memberships.
As restrictions on non-essential retail begin to lift, the research reveals that many of our new shopping habits will be here to stay, with two fifths (41%) shopping online more frequently the majority (74%) of those will continue to do so.
Although visiting shops in person may not be an option for some in the short-term, payment behaviours at physical and online retailers have changed. 42% say they are paying by contactless wherever possible, shopping online where possible (28%) or using smartphones to pay more frequently (9%).
Lockdown shopping challenges
Although shopping online was proving popular, both physical and online retailers were creating challenges for shoppers, the top ones being:
- Getting a delivery slot for essential items (28%)
- Nearby physical retailers closing (26%)
- Accessing a retailer’s website (13%)
- Getting a click and collect slot for essential items (13%)
- Not being able to speak to a customer service operator (12%)
Jeni Mundy, managing director, UK & Ireland at Visa, said: “Payment behaviours have clearly shifted during lockdown with the restrictions acting as a catalyst for people to make the move online. With many of us set to continue shopping online more frequently, it is important to feel sure we are paying securely for everything from groceries and clothing to a new subscription service, or items for the home. The good news is that when you pay with Visa you can be sure that you are paying securely and that your details are protected.
“Contactless payments have also grown in popularity recently and Visa was pleased to work with its clients and partners to support the introduction of the new £45 contactless limit. This enables shoppers to simply tap to pay with their card or mobile phone when buying groceries and other essentials on their high streets.
“Visa is committed to helping communities and individuals recover as lockdown eases. Now more than ever, we are enlisting the help of our clients and partners to provide the tools, resources and expertise to develop the most simple and secure payment solutions for online and offline shoppers, both during the crisis and beyond.”