According to a new report from consumer research platform Attest, British shoppers have been reducing their online shopping habits due to the increasing cost of living. The study reveals that 26% of consumers have spent less money online in the past six months, while 39% have maintained their spending levels. However, 34% admit to spending more, possibly in anticipation of future price increases.

The report suggests that the cost-of-living crisis could lead to a decline in the online retail industry, which experienced significant growth during the pandemic. Furthermore, consumer sentiment for online shopping in the next six months appears bleak, with nearly 28% of individuals expecting a decrease in spending leading up to Christmas. Additionally, 7% of people anticipate spending less online overall.

This reduction in spending could result in consumers being able to afford fewer purchases, even for those who claim that their spending will remain the same. The report predicts that the largest reduction in spending will come from the 35-44 age group, which constitutes the most frequent online shoppers, as well as the 55-64 age group. On the other hand, only 11% of those in the 18-24 age bracket expect to increase their online spending.

The report presents two possible interpretations for this data: either people believe that online shopping will offer better deals or they anticipate having to spend more due to rising product costs.

In terms of online shopping habits, nearly 88% of Britons have made direct-to-consumer purchases in the past six months, with an average of 3.9 purchases each. The majority (28%) spend between £26-£50 per month, while 21% spend less and 49% spend more than £50. However, only 17% spend more than £100.

Currently, 46% of Britons still shop online at least once a week, with 21% doing so fortnightly. The most frequent online shoppers are aged 35-44, with 22% shopping more than once a week. Among those who are highly committed to online shopping, the most popular sectors are technology (68%), clothing (61%), and health and fitness (57%).

The use of smartphones for online shopping continues to increase, with 59% of Britons saying they primarily use their mobile devices for research and purchases, up from 51% in 2019. In contrast, the use of laptops has decreased from 24% to 20%, tablets from 13% to 10%, and desktop computers from 11% to 8%.

Surprisingly, Britons are now willing to wait longer for delivery compared to 2019. The percentage of people who expect delivery within a couple of days has dropped from 22% to 14%, while those prepared to wait more than five days has increased from 21% in 2019 to 28%.

When it comes to starting their online shopping journeys, more shoppers now use search engines (37%) compared to marketplaces like Amazon (33%). Additionally, there has been a decline in consumers directly visiting a preferred brand’s website, with only 20% doing so, down from 24% in 2019. However, social media has doubled in popularity as a starting point for e-shopping journeys, rising from 3% to 6%. Among individuals aged 18-25, 13% habitually start their shopping on social media platforms, indicating a growing trend that brands should consider.

Useful Links:
1. BBC: Online shopping in UK falls as cost of living rises
2. The Guardian: Rising cost of living leads to reduction in online shopping habits in the UK