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Shoppers now buying online more often: study

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British shoppers are now buying online more often, with more than a quarter (26%) now doing so at least once a week – up from 22% last year, new analysis suggests.

Two-thirds now shop online at least once a month and 3% do so every day, suggest figures from research commissioned by the Royal Mail and carried out by Ipsos Mori, which questioned 3,000 UK consumers aged 16 and above earlier this year.

The rise comes as more people pay to subscribe to schemes that then offer unlimited free delivery. More than a quarter (28%) of respondents said they now used a delivery scheme. Between April and June 2017 only 20% did so. The research found that 18 to 24-year-olds were most likely to have a delivery subscription (40%), followed by 25 to 34-year-olds (37%) and 35 44-year-olds (35%). More than a quarter (27%) of 16 to 17-year-olds said they were members of a delivery subscription.

At the same time, shoppers are spending more online: the average UK shopper spent £220 online over three months, up from £205 a year earlier, and £199 in the previous quarter, to December 2017.

But while order frequency is rising, so too are returns. Almost a quarter 23% of Brits returned an item in the last month, compared to 17% at the same time last year.  Women (27%) were more likely to have sent back an item in the last month than men (18%).

“Online shopping shows no sign of slowing down and those who are shopping are spending more than ever,” said a spokesperson for Royal Mail Parcels. “Consumers are looking for convenience and delivery subscriptions are providing this. Retailers need to ensure they’re responding to consumer demand or they risk being left behind. With the emergence of try-before-you-buy schemes for consumers, returns will continue to rise and retailers must have a simple returns process in place to respond to this.”

The research comes soon after Whistl analysis suggested that UK shoppers are now spending a collective £2bn a year on delivery subscriptions. 

Image courtesy of Royal Mail

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