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Online shopping now accounts for 20% of UK card spend

E-commerce transactions now account for 20% of all credit and debit card spending in the UK as online spending grows by 11% per year according to new figures released by Barclaycard.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Online shopping now accounts for 20% of UK card spend

E-commerce transactions now account for 20% of all credit and debit card spending in the UK as online spending grows by 11% per year according to new figures released by Barclaycard.

The reported growth is supported by figures from UK e-retail association IMRG which show that the UK is expected to spend £107 billion online this year, breaking the £100 billion per annum mark for the first time. This equates to an average of £4,000 spent online by every UK household.

Barclaycard’s data shows that music downloads are now the fastest growing category of online spending with a 124% increase last year. The figures also show that 79% of all music is now bought online.

Airline spending was found to occupy the top spot for online spend share driven by the boom in low cost airlines and the move to e-ticketing by carriers. The Barclaycard figures reveal that the number of online airline transactions is already up 5.6% this year with total spend up 4.2% on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Meanwhile, online spending on concert and entertainment tickets almost doubled last year with just under half of all spending in this category now taking place online. In addition, 59% of cinema and theatre are now bought via the internet as more consumers research events and book online.

Although spending online in DIY and garden centres is still comparatively low, the current boom in the housing market in some parts of the country has led to 37% growth in online spend this year.

Chris Wood, Barclaycard managing director, said: “Online shopping has come a long way since it first emerged in 1984 and now accounts for one in every five pounds spent on credit and debit cards in the UK. More and more of us are turning to the web to research, compare prices and buy everything from cinema trips and electronics to the latest fashions, making it an inextricable part of modern retail.

“The music and airline industries are prime examples of where businesses have fully embraced the potential of the internet and have made it their main source of business. These sectors show it is vital for retailers to move quickly to keep pace with their customers’ desire to shop online, where they can build deeper relationships and engage with customers, or they risk being left behind.”

The increasing use of mobile devices has been a major factor in driving online spend as IMRG's data shows that nearly half of visits to online retailers and a third of all online sales now come from smartphones and tablets.

Andrew McClelland, chief operations and policy officer at IMRG, said: “Today’s consumers are just getting to grips with the opportunities that technology brings to their everyday lives. Everything from booking a taxi through to buying a car can be done through digital channels.

“Over the next few years, internet shopping will increasingly become the norm as more of us become accustomed to researching and buying products through online stores. The devices we purchase from are also likely to change in the next few years, whether it’s through shopping online using our smart watch, or programming our smart fridges to order groceries online as soon as they’ve run out.”

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