Data shows the trends behind the growth of online shopping

Arguably the biggest change to shopping in the 20th century was the emergence of supermarkets. For many this made the shopping experience less personal, but as online shopping has become the norm for many in the 21st century, shopping has, to some, become even less personal; in 2008 just 5p of every £1 spent in shops was spent online – by 2015 this had risen to 13p.


Percentage of all spending in shops that was spent in online shops, Great Britain, 2008 and 2015

Nearly half of every £1 spent in shops online in 2015 was spent in online stores that have no permanent physical presence on the high street or out of town shopping park. These shops might have a stall sometimes in a market or fair, but that’s it. This is not a blip – it’s actually a growing trend – up from 41p of every £1 spent in shops online in 2010.

So what does this mean for British shopkeepers?

Well, considering that nearly 88% of all shopping in Great Britain in 2015 was done in physical stores it’s clear that the British public are not ready quite yet to move to an exclusively online shopping experience. However, it could be that some shop types will become more online focused than others in the future, as it does seem that there are some items we are more willing to buy online than others.

Looking at physical shops that also have an online presence, only 4p of every pound spent in shops mainly selling food was spent online, whereas 12p of every pound spent in clothing stores was spent online and 11p of every pound spent in department stores.
This might have something to do with delivery and returns. When ordering food to be delivered you have to ensure you are at home for the delivery – this is not so for clothing items. Also, it can be difficult and time consuming to return food but lots of clothing stores have made it free and very easy to return their products by making it possible to drop packages off at the corner shop for example, or using lockers in supermarkets.

For more on this, including the original data, please click here to visit the Office for National Statistic website.

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