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Online purchasing penetration in Great Britain 2012-2020, by age

A survey measuring the differences between online purchasing among age groups found that the 65+ age group generally purchased the least amount. Overall, the older the age group, the less these age groups purchased items online. Those in the 25-34 age group had the highest online purchasing penetration in 2020 at 99 percent.

Internet access: UK and world

In 1998, internet access in UK private households was considered a rare and uncommon amenity. Today, the opposite is said to be true and nearly every household in the UK has access to the internet. In 1998, nine percent of UK households had internet access. Whereas in 2020, that number has ballooned to 96 percent of UK households. Internationally, on average 59 percent of the world has access to the internet. However, this number varies dramatically between the Global North and the Global South. In Northern Europe, internet penetration reached 95 percent in 2020.

Internet access in the UK by age group

Although 98 percent of UK households in 2020 have internet access, access varies considerably among those aged 75+. In 2017, more than half of UK persons aged 75 and above had access to the internet. This is dramatically lower than even the next age group of those aged 65 to 74, where 78 percent had internet access in 2017.

Share of individuals who made purchases online in Great Britain from 2012 to 2020, by age

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Release date

August 2020


United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Survey time period

2012 to 2020

Number of respondents


Age group

16 years and older

Special properties

within the last 12 months.

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

* The source indicates: "The source of this information is the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OLS). The OLS is a multi-purpose survey developed by ONS for use by government departments, other public bodies, charities, academics and the media. It provides a fast, cost effective and reliable way of obtaining information on topics too brief to warrant their own survey."
** The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey is carried out by interviewing a nationally representative sample of households in Great Britain. About 1,800 households are sampled each month and estimates are subject to sampling variability, as are those from all sample surveys.

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