Over 55s are UK’s biggest online shoppers, BaseKit survey reveals

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Regional shopping trends

Regional shopping trends

Over 55s are the UK’s biggest online shoppers with 86% shopping regularly online, according to new research from web hosting company, BaseKit.

It found 36% of these silver surfers say they do their majority of shopping online, rather than on the high street, and 6% expect to do all their shopping online in the future. 

Young people aged 25-34 are the least likely to shop online with 13% claiming that they never do it, said BaseKit.

Its study found Brits spend double the time browsing shops online than they do on the high street. 

On average, Brits spend over 2.4 hours a week shopping online, compared to an average of 1.2 hours spent window shopping on the high street. In fact, one in eight Brits spend more than five hours a week shopping online, compared to just one in 50 who spend that long shopping on the high street.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the high street, said BaseKit. The average spend in bricks and mortar shops is higher than in online stores. Brits are still choosing to buy high value items such as cars from retailers they can actually visit, leading to higher average monthly spend in physical stores of £126 per month, compared to £116 in online shops.

Men are catching up women in time spent shopping, the study found. Despite women’s reputation as the biggest shoppers, women only spend 12% more time shopping than men, spending on average 3.3.hours per week shopping (2.3 hours online and 1.0 hours in store) compared to 2.9 hours per week for men (2.1 hours online and 0.8 hours in store).

Men are the UK’s biggest spenders, however. Despite spending less time shopping, men spend nearly a third more each month than women with an average spend of £273.15 (£127.93 online and £145.22 in store) compared to £212.78 (£105.42 online and £107.36 in store) for women.

By geographical region, shoppers in the north east shop for longest, but Londoners are the biggest spenders. People living in the north east spend over four hours a week shopping, while Londoners have an average monthly shop of £383.01 (£183.17 online and £199.84 in store)

“When it comes to the UK retail environment, the majority of stories are all doom and gloom about local and national stores struggling to keep afloat during these difficult financial times. However, our research shows Brits are still keen shoppers with people spending many hours a week shopping,” said Chris Winstanley, vp, marketing, Basekit.com.

“What this research does highlight is Brits are increasingly taking shopping behaviour online, and it’s not just young people.

“With silver surfers now the UK’s biggest online shoppers, retail outlets must consider their websites as, if not more, important as their physical stores. To cater to this group they should be developing sites that are easier for these older people to navigate, for example, by having large text options and obvious navigational markers.

“With this information at their fingertips, we hope UK retailers will be able to make informed decisions about their online footprint and develop websites that will help them take advantage of the British obsession with shopping,” said Winstanley.

Motivations for shopping online

The research also investigated why people are choosing to shop online than from the high street. Convenience was cited as the number one reason by a large majority (60.5%) of Brits, with over half (53.4%) also citing online items are better value. 

For silver surfers, the ability to get products delivered to their house so they don’t need to carry them was also a prime motivator to shop online with three-fifths (59.2%) saying that was a major reason. For young people, 16% of 18-24 year olds say they prefer to shop online as it allows them to buy products anonymously that they find too embarrassing to buy in person.

When asked about why they’d choose to shop from the high street rather than from online shops, the ability to try and test out the product before buying was the top choice for three-quarters (73.4%) of Brits. 

This was particularly important for older people with only 60% of 25-34 year olds saying it was a main reason, compared to 83.4% of the over 55s. For young people, it seems shopping is increasingly viewed as a hobby with a third of 18-24 year olds (30.8%) and 25-34 year olds (31.1%) saying that shopping on the high street gave them something to do.