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Online shopping behavior in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts

In the UK, over 80 percent of the population made e-commerce purchases, or to put it in other words, were digital buyers. The penetration rate is expected to grow even further in the future, reaching a projected 90 percent within the next few years.

What are some of the habits of digital shoppers in the UK?

When asked what types of products consumers in the UK had bought online in the past year, apparel was by far the most common answer: roughly six in ten British digital shoppers had purchased at least one item of clothing in the past 12 months. While clothes and footwear were the most popular categories, shoppers liked buying several kinds of products, including electronics, food and drinks, cosmetics, furniture and more. Before buying anything, however, close to 60 percent of consumers would do some research on the internet first. Many also found reading customer reviews very helpful. In fact, over 90 percent of consumers in the UK stated that they typically avoided buying from a business below a 4-star rating, making it vital for e-retailers to provide quality products and customer-friendly service.

The influence of a pandemic on shopping online

Given that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a strong impact on the daily lives of individuals, it comes as no surprise that it also influenced their shopping behavior. When asked whether the crisis had caused them to buy more, less, or the same amount online, roughly 70 percent of British respondents stated that their online purchases had increased compared to before the pandemic. For many industries, such as all-food and household goods stores, monthly online retail sales in the UK had grown the most during the early months of the outbreak.

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