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ONS figures show shift in online shopping habits

07 August 2017 - 20:28 by Graham Miller

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A new study published by the Office for National Statistics has examined the state of consumer behaviour in the UK today, indicating that safe shopping online is more popular than ever, albeit with some generational differences apparent.

Internet Retailing reports that 77 per cent of Brits made at least one online purchase in the past 12 months, which is roughly the same proportion as embraced e-commerce a year earlier. This suggests that the actual uptake of the practice has stalled, even if sales are still growing.

Eighty nine per cent of Millennials take advantage of safe shopping online, with this part of the market almost reaching saturation point. And the under-35s are not only using e-commerce sites in large numbers, but with increased regularity.

A quarter of this group admitted to making over 10 purchases through shopping sites over the past quarter. This frequency of online shopping is far less common amongst older consumers, with just 7 per cent of the over-65s taking a similar approach.

Fashion continues to dominate in terms of sheer sales, with over half of Brits splashing out on clothes, sportswear and footwear online. Meanwhile, 44 per cent used the web to find holiday deals, illustrating the breadth of what is offered in the e-commerce sphere.

More than nine in 10 people shopped with online retailers that operate in the UK, with almost a third also experimenting with overseas outlets. In fact the trend for international e-commerce has seen the biggest growth this year, increasing its importance and influence.

Fifty six per cent of people who were questioned in the survey admitted that they had encountered at least one kind of problem when attempting to shop online over the last year. From sluggish website performance to delivery dilemmas, there is still a lot of room for improvement.