Shopping statistics 2021
Online shopping has risen by 80% since last year.
Whether you are looking to do the weekly shop or let off a bit of steam with some retail therapy, people in the UK love to shop. In this report, we’ve put together insights on how exactly Brits like to do their shopping.
- Almost 9 in 10 people (87%) shopped online in 2020, the highest proportion since 2008.
- The most popular reasons for shopping online were to compare prices (53%) and to explore more choices (51%).
- The value of Internet sales was greatest in November 2020, when it reached £3,251 million.
- The most popular online purchase was clothing, with 55% of people buying clothes online in 2020.
- The industries with the greatest increase in online traffic following COVID-19 are supermarkets and sports equipment, with an increase of 35% and 24% respectively.
Online retail trends in the UK
With increased accessibility and the ability to compare products, online shopping is becoming more and more popular. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 restrictions also impacted people’s likelihood to shop online.
Internet sales reached their highest value in November 2020, at £3,251 million. The reason for this spike is two-fold: people were buying a lot in the lead-up to Christmas and online buying increased when coronavirus restrictions made it more difficult to go shopping in person.
This spike to £3,251 million in online sales represents an 80% increase from the year before. While this November peak is predominantly explained by the arrival of Christmas, the previous peak of £2,349 million in June 2020 is explained solely by the increase in demand for online shopping following the first UK lockdown imposed only four months before.
Most popular goods and services to buy online
The most popular online purchase was clothing, with 55% of people buying clothing items online in 2020. Food deliveries were the second most popular thing to buy, with a third (32%) of people ordering food online in 2020. Closely following this were printed books, magazines and newspapers.
Consumer motivations for shopping online
We explored people’s reasons for shopping online. According to the latest statistics, most people (53%) liked to compare the prices of products or services online. 51% of people also liked that online shopping allowed them to explore more choices.
Improvements Brits want for high street shopping
As of 2019, UK consumers reported that the most important improvement that they would like to see in high street shopping was better shops (35%). The second thing they wanted was more parking (21%).
|Improvement||Percentage of people who said this was the most important improvement|
|Later opening hours||11%|
|Better offers and deals from shops||9%|
Impact on online shopping worldwide
Online traffic for certain online retailers has seen a huge shift since the coronavirus pandemic. The graph below shows the percentage change in online traffic from January 2020 to October 2020.
The greatest increase (34.8%) was for supermarkets, which can be expected, with a large proportion of their normal customers trying to avoid in-person shopping. Unsurprisingly, tourism searches have seen the biggest drop (-43.7%), as has the tourism industry in general. The sportswear and sports equipment industry has been particularly innovative, introducing apps, online classes and affordable home gym equipment, thus driving a 24% increase in traffic.
Impact on high street shopping in the UK
Footfall in high streets has seen a significant decline from March 2020, the beginning of the first lockdown. Since then, footfall has been at an average -56.4%.
- Office for National Statistics
- Royal Mail
- Trinity McQueen
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