Online shopping

Brits plan to increase online shopping despite cost of living crisis — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

New research from Opinium and Digital River looks at online consumer habits, payment trends and what consumers are now demanding from online retailers.

2,000 UK consumers were surveyed about it. 17% said they were struggling financially and 35% were “getting through it”, but this had minimal impact on their willingness to buy online.

Only 8% of respondents said they were looking to shop more in person, and 22% expected to do so online more frequently in the future.

33% of respondents have shopped online more frequently in the past six months, compared to just 9% who have ventured in-store more often.

Although 58% of Britons have reduced their spending on non-essential items in the past six months, 47% continue to make at least one online transaction per week.

A critical factor in the success of e-commerce is lower prices and the ability to track and compare price changes.

29% of UK online shoppers say it’s easier to track prices online than in person, while 29% of those considering buying online are more likely to say that cheaper items online make them more likely to buy buy this way.

In addition, payment methods have evolved to meet demand. Today, 15% of UK adults use buy-it-now and pay-later services for online purchases, and 59% of them do so to stretch their budget further.

Two-thirds of BNPL users have used this method more in the past six months, with 49% saying this is due to their more difficult financial situation. Credit card usage remained stable by comparison, with 60% using this method as usual.

At the same time, however, 41% of online shoppers say online shopping would be among the first things to cut back on if they needed to cut back on spending.

50% want more help from retailers to deal with rising prices. 32% cite the price of delivery as a barrier to shopping online and 48% say free or cheaper delivery would offer the most help with the cost of living.

Respondents also pointed to more online vouchers (38%) and easier price comparison (31%) as ways for retailers to mobilize during the cost of living crisis.

“We’ve seen the impact of inflation on our economy: consumers have told us they’re cutting back on spending across the board, especially on special occasions, including holiday shopping and vacations,” says Ted Rogers, chief revenue officer at Digital River.

“However, our research has shown that the pace of online spending is not expected to slow despite pressure on finances.”

“Brands need to ensure they have optimized their digital stores to make the buying journey as seamless and frictionless as possible, ensuring that consumers are not surprised by additional costs.”