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UK households each set to splash out £4,000 online this year as web takes 20 per cent share of all retail spend.

news news 23 May 2014 07:00

  • Online spending now accounts for a fifth of all UK card spend and is growing 11 per cent a year
  • £107 billion is expected to be spent online in the UK this year – an average of £4,000 by each household.
  • A third of UK online sales are made on a mobile device, with men most likely to buy on their phone or tablet. 

As online shopping celebrates its 30th anniversary this month, new figures show that online transactions now account for 20 per cent of all credit and debit card spending in the UK.

According to Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all the UK’s debit and credit card payments, more consumers using online shopping than ever before is helping push up spending on the web by 11 per cent a year.

This reported growth is supported by figures from IMRG, the UK’s industry association for e-retail, which expects the UK to spend £107 billion online this year, breaking the £100 billion per annum mark for the first time.  This equates to an average of £4,000 spent online by every UK household.

Barclaycard’s data shows that music downloads have become the fastest growing category of online spending – last year alone it grew by 124 per cent and 79 per cent of all music is now bought online.

Airline spending occupies the top spot for online spend share at 80 per cent, propelled by the boom in low cost airlines and the move to e-ticketing by carriers. Already this year the number of online airline transactions is up 5.6 per cent and total spend is up 4.2 per cent on an inflation-adjusted basis.

As more concert and entertainment tickets are sold and advertised on the web, online spending on these events almost doubled last year.  Just under half (49 per cent) of all spending now takes place online; as does 59 per cent of cinema and theatre spending as consumers research events and book online before heading to the venue.

Although spending online in DIY and Garden Centres is still comparatively low  the booming housing market is leading to huge increases with 37 per cent online spend growth this year.

Chris Wood, Barclaycard Managing Director, said: 

“Online shopping has come a long way since it first emerged in 1984 and now accounts for one in every five pounds spent on credit and debit cards in the UK. More and more of us are turning to the web to research, compare prices and buy everything from cinema trips and electronics to the latest fashions, making it an inextricable part of modern retail.

“The music and airline industries are prime examples of where businesses have fully embraced the potential of the internet and have made it their main source of business. These sectors show it is vital for retailers to move quickly to keep pace with their customers’ desire to shop online, where they can build deeper relationships and engage with customers, or they risk being left behind.”

The proliferation of mobile devices has clearly driven online spend, as IMRG data shows that nearly half (45 per cent) of visits to online retailers and a third of all online sales now come from mobile devices – smartphones and tablets.

This has in turn led to the morning commute becoming one of our favourite times to browse, with online sales also spiking at lunchtime on laptops and in the evenings on tablets whilst we sofa surf for deals whilst watching TV.

And according to IMRG, men are more likely to buy through a mobile device, at 64 per cent, compared to women at 59 per cent.

Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, said:

“Today’s consumers are just getting to grips with the opportunities that technology brings to their everyday lives. Everything from booking a taxi through to buying a car can be done through digital channels.

“Over the next few years, internet shopping will increasingly become the norm as more of us become accustomed to researching and buying products through online stores. The devices we purchase from are also likely to change in the next few years, whether it’s through shopping online using our smart watch, or programming our smart fridges to order groceries online as soon as they’ve run out.”


Notes to editors

Online shopping was debuted in May 1984 by Jane Snowball who used a council-pioneered system to do her grocery shopping from her living room. 

For more information please contact Tom Foxton, Media Relations, Barclaycard, on +44 (0)7880 184381.

Barclaycard processes nearly half of all card transactions in the UK. The spending data within this press notice is based on transactions from Barclaycard’s UK credit card business, UK payment acceptance business and spending on Barclays debit cards.