Close this search box.

Where ecommerce happens: study

This is an archived article - we have removed images and other assets but have left the text unchanged for your reference

Where and when does ecommerce happen? It seems that for online shoppers around the world, the answer is at home, at 8.40pm, according to a new Global Online Shopper Report.

The WorldPay-commissioned report found that 95% of ecommerce purchases take place at home: 54% in the living room, 43% in the bedroom – and 3% in the bathroom.

In the UK, online shoppers spend more time and money shopping online than the world average. They spend exactly a quarter of their income buying goods and services online, and that transactions are most likely to take place at 8.05pm. The report also found they spend an average of six hours a month shopping online, and that 51% watch TV while they buy.

Around the world, e-shoppers spend an average of 22% of their income worldwide, and shop for an average of five hours a month. Some 46% of global internet consumers watch TV while shopping online, 42% listen to music and 29% chat to family and friends.

UK shoppers are more likely than the global average to buy groceries online (33%, against 18% worldwide) and to buy from Amazon (90%, compared to 43%). The three most popular shopping websites globally were department stores (31%), clothes retailers (30%) and consumer electronics (25%).

Some 19,000 consumers and 153 senior decision makers took part in the research, which investigates the shopping habits of people in 15 countries, including the UK, US, China, Germany, Spain and India.

The study found that e-consumers worldwide were becoming more likely to use a variety of devices to buy. More than half (55%) use a laptop, while 19% use a smartphone and 11% a tablet computer. Almost a third (29%) buy online at work, 7% while they’re out at a café, bar, restaurant or pub, and 8% on holiday. But most (95%) ecommerce purchases happen at home.

UK consumers who have bought using a mobile device – either a smartphone (14%) or tablet (6%) – were most likely to have bought clothes (50%), books (43%) and music/CDs (40%).

The popularity of the mobile as a purchasing tool rises in the east. In China, 46% use a smartphone to buy online while in India the proportion is 40%. China and India both have the highest populations of ‘heavy spenders,’ with 48% and 54% respectively parting with more than 30% of their disposable income online.

Philip McGriskin, chief product officer at WorldPay said: “Online shoppers are becoming increasingly mobile, no longer chained to their PC to buy goods and services. The way shoppers engage with mobile devices is evolving and driving the future of ecommerce as consumers look to purchase through apps, mobile websites and using their device on the move.

“This increased mobility is expanding the audience of potential consumers for merchants to target but, in tandem, presents challenges in offering the best experience for these consumers whenever and wherever they demand it. As technologies develop merchants will need to be ahead of the game to understand and offer consumers the services they demand.”

Spending is set to rise, with 64% of global shoppers saying they would consider spending more than 50% of their disposable income online (50% in the UK) – 7% said they already do. Some 91% of Indian respondents and 91% of Chinese said they were open to spending more than half their outgoings online in the future.

McGriskin concludes: “Ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace, with consumers in nearly all countries spending a growing percentage of their income online. The consumer appetite for buying cross-border is strong, particularly in the high-growth developing online economies. This provides merchants with an excellent opportunity to increase sales by targeting overseas customers.”

Adam Stewart of Rakuten’s said: “The fact that 25% of spending now occurs online points to the importance of this channel for retailers, and how willingly consumers have embraced it. Many will herald this milestone as yet another nail in the coffin for traditional bricks and mortar shopping, but this would be to take a far too simplified view of the situation. Retailers should in fact view online as a powerful channel that is complementary to traditional retail and that can be a powerful mechanism for driving shoppers towards physical retail outlets. The boundaries between online and offline worlds are becoming increasingly blurred, and retailers should look to adopt a multichannel approach which fuses their digital and real-world offerings.”

To download a copy of the report, visit

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on