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Two-thirds of UK adults now shop online

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Two-thirds of the UK population now buy over the internet, according to new official data, which found nearly half of us bought clothes or sports goods online in 2011.

According to the Office for National Statistics’ Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2011 report, some 66% of all UK adults, or 32m people, bought goods or services online in 2011. That represented a rise of four percentage points from the 62% who bought online in 2010.

The most popular buys were clothes or sporting goods, chosen by 46% of internet users, rising to 50% of all female online shoppers compared to 43% of men. Films or music were the second most popular purchase, by 40% of internet users. Only the over-65s did not opt to buy fashion online. Instead, 29% of this group bought travel arrangements such as flights, car hire and transport tickets. Some 26% of this group also booked holiday accommodation over the internet.

The data in today’s report is drawn from the National Statistics Opinions Survey, and also found that almost half of internet users used a mobile phone to connect to the internet. Some 17.6m people did so, representing 45% of internet users. Some 4.5m people also used wireless hot-spots to connect to the internet, up from 0.7m in 2007.

But while 77% (19m) of British households had an internet connection, up from 73% in 2010, 5.7m households did not. “Some householders suggested that specific barriers were preventing them from investing in a household internet connection,” the report said. But, it continued: “Half of those without a household Internet connection said they didn’t have one because they ‘don’t need the Internet’”.

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