Ecommerce Guide

The British Are The World’s Biggest Online Spenders

The UK leads the world in ecommerce purchases according to a new report by the UK Cards Association. UK households spent nearly $6000 per year each online using payment cards in 2016, more per household than any other country. Figures from some other countries are listed below:

  • UK: $5900
  • Norway: $5400
  • USA: $4500
  • Australia: $4000
  • Hong Kong: $3500
  • France: $2400
  • China: $1500
  • Turkey: $700
  • Russia: $600
  • Mexico: $600
  • South Africa:$200
  • India: $100

Card pending on the internet in the UK came to a total of £154 billion during 2016, averaging at £422 million per day. From 2014, this represents a rise of 28%, when online spending amounted to just £120 billion per year.  

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said:

“The internet enables millions of people to access services around the clock from wherever they are based. Payment cards have driven this revolution, providing an easy and secure way to shop online, whether it is to buy an app for your phone or a sofa for your living room.

“Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets to one click purchases, which bring enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector. The additional protection provided when using a card also gives consumers extra peace of mind when they are shopping online.”

Veteran City commentator David Buik, from stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, said: “The culture of shopping has changed completely – nobody carries cash around. People want to do it all online whether it’s buying a holiday, or watching films on Netflix. Unless retailers are putting the right stocks on their shelves at the right price they’re in trouble.”

Traditional retailers in the UK have felt the full force of the rise in online spending, this week Debenhams announcing that they were ‘changing strategy’. Their plan is to close up to 10 of its 176 stores over the next five years as well potentially shutting one of its central distribution warehouses as well as about 10 smaller warehouses.

The growing trend to shop online is partly thanks as well to many people being happy with the security procedures in place to ensure their details are kept safe. Whilst a minority of people fear that online shopping could lead them open to cyber fraud, Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, argued that security was improving.

“Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets to one click purchases, which bring enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector. The additional protection provided when using a card also gives consumers extra peace of mind when they are shopping online,” he said.
Shopping online is a habit that is firmly ingrained in the British psyche and the numbers of Brits and how much they spend online will only rise in the next few years.

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