UK online shoppers make 80% of retail purchases online, reports Royal Mail

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The proportion of money being spent online has increased year on year, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail. Shoppers are tightening their belts and looking online for the best prices. Choice (54%), price comparison (53%) and convenience (49%) are the key reasons that shoppers go online instead of in-store and older shoppers in particular are price and convenience driven. The study found that over a period of three months, online shoppers claimed to make 80% of purchases (excluding groceries) online, up from 74%.

As online shopping has grown, the cost and speed of delivery has become a key battleground for businesses. The study, part of Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters report, asked 1,500 UK online shoppers about their shopping habits and preferences. It found that delivery is important when purchasing through marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay, with 84% considering a seller’s delivery rating as a crucial factor when choosing where to buy from. One in four shoppers now pays for delivery subscriptions, which allow unlimited next day delivery on all orders within a pre-paid period. The most common retailer that online shoppers have a delivery subscription with is Amazon (76%).

The study also found the average online clothes shopper spends £40 a month and shops online for clothes or footwear at least once a month. Over half (55%) of female shoppers purchase clothes online, compared to a third (33%) of male shoppers. It reveals that Amazon (32%) and eBay (22%) are the most popular online clothing outlets, with M&S and Next (both 11%) the best performing from the high street. The bestselling online clothing items are tops (26%), t-shirts (24%) and trainers (21%). Those with children in the household are likely to shop more often for clothes or footwear than those without kids.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said:“Despite consumers tightening their purse strings, online shopping continues to grow. How you deliver is as important as what you sell and a quarter of shoppers are now paying an upfront fee for unlimited delivery. Businesses of all sizes need to make sure they respond to this demand or risk being left behind. By selecting high quality services from Royal Mail, online sellers can ensure they set themselves up for success.”