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UK shoppers spent 8.6% less online in 2022 than a year earlier – but bought more items as retailers discounted heavily online, research suggests

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Bargain-hunting UK shoppers spent 8.6% less online in 2022 than the previous year but bought more items thanks to heavy discounting from retailers, new figures suggest. They also spent 42.3% more online than in pre-pandemic 2019, the Adobe Digital Economy Index report suggests.

Overall, the report finds that UK shoppers spent £110.6bn online in 2022, with mobile the dominant channel, with 56.8% of ecommerce purchases via smartphones. That’s 10.9% up on the same time last year. Of the £62.8bn spent via mobile, £13.2bn was spent in October and November, says the report. 

The appetite for bargains came among a cost-of-living crisis and saw shoppers buy an average of 3.4 items in each online order. That’s up from 3.3 in 2021, according to analysis of Adobe Analytics data covering tens of billions of visits to UK retail sites, 100m SKUs and 18 product categories.

“While UK consumers spent less in 2022, our data shows that on average they bought more items, as they took advantage of discounts offered by retailers and hunted down bargains,” says Suzanne Steele, vice president and managing director for Adobe in the UK. “The digital economy remains strong, but to weather the cost-of-living crisis in 2023, businesses must be mindful of how they price and promote products and services to increasingly cost-conscious consumers.”

While online spending was lower across 2022 compared with 2021, according to Adobe figures, the analysis suggests spending picked up in December, when spending was 7.4% lower than a year earlier. That represents an improvement on October and November, when inflation and rising energy costs influenced a more pronounced 11.3% drop relative to the same period in 2021. 

During the Christmas shopping period, covering November and December,  Adobe found that shoppers spent a total of £22.4bn online. That’s 10.1% lower than a year earlier, and 17% higher than in 2019. 

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