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Value of commuter online shopping activities assessed

29 November 2018 - 11:42 by Simon Crisp

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A new study from Retail Economics has revealed that British commuters who travel by train to get to and from work each day spent £2.6 billion via safe shopping online over the past 12 months.

The growing popularity of this activity means that the figures could rise to £4.6 billion within the next half decade, according to Internet Retailing.

This means that purchases made while on the train account for around four per cent of the entire e-commerce market in the UK. The 12 per cent projected growth in this type of shopping activity could have an even greater impact on the way that sites operate and services are targeted.

At the moment just nine per cent of working aged Brits commute on trains, yet they manage to make a much greater impact with their spending on average than their counterparts that choose other modes of transport.

There are various reasons behind the rise in e-commerce on the rails; the availability of free access to Wi-Fi for passengers is clearly influential, allowing smartphone, tablet and laptop users to browse and buy without having to worry about whether or not they have network coverage available.

Another factor which is helping to push safe shopping online in a rail travel context is that passengers often have a lot of time to kill and need to keep themselves occupied. Unlike drivers, or those taking other forms of transport, the train experience affords what is effectively an amount of free time that makes e-commerce especially appealing and convenient.

Many use online shopping as a means to boost their spirits after a hard day at the office, with the afternoon rush hour proving especially popular as a result, accounting for a third of all train based e-commerce activity.