Record numbers go online for essentials and experiences
Online shopping has outstripped all other forms of spending over the past month, with more than half of UK shoppers (57%) saying they are shopping online more than ever and record numbers signing up to virtual experiences like home fitness classes, TV and film subscriptions and online learning during lockdown.
The research from Mastercard revealed that over a third of Brits (35%) are spending more money on virtual experiences, with the majority (63%) watching TV or films through an online subscription service, nearly half virtually visiting museums and other places of interest, and a third (30%) ‘attending’ exercise classes online.
According to the research, the times we are living in have also made us more generous with 37% saying they have donated to charity online in the last month and 20% donating for the first time.
Brits are also using the extra time indoors as an opportunity to learn new online skills, with a third (36%) starting to bank online, a quarter (24%) learning how to manage their health and get their medicines online and one in five (19%) learning a new language – très bon!
One in ten (10%) are learning to code, 12% are using the internet to help them learn to play a musical instrument and 17% have followed online guides to cut hair!
As half of all UK shoppers have been purchasing their essentials online, some of the most popular trends include buying books (30%), hair clippers (20%) and fitness equipment like dumbbells and yoga mats (21%).
The research revealed that online shopping habits also seem to mirror real life behaviours, with 44% of typical in-store bargain hunters spending hours searching different sites to find the best deals and two in three (74%) self-confessed window shoppers saying they regularly browse and create wish lists but don’t always buy. Nearly half of new online shoppers (45%) say they remain loyal to real life counterparts.
The majority of Brits (75%) are careful about what and where they shop online, with 63% saying they worry about becoming a victim of online fraud or ‘scamming’. In a bid to maintain payment safety online, 75% of UK shoppers tend to stick to familiar retailers, 73% check site or buyer reviews and a quarter (26%) will contact new or unknown sellers before purchasing.
Mark Barnett, president, Europe at Mastercard said: “We are all adjusting to a new way of living and are understandably shopping more online, though it’s not just for essentials but for virtual experiences ranging from films to fitness too. Tough times can bring out the best in us and we can take comfort and heart from the increases in people donating online and the huge numbers of people learning new ways to manage their day-to-day lives online. Now more than ever people need access to the digital economy and all of us at Mastercard are constantly working to make the online shopping experience more simple, seamless and secure for everyone, whether you’re shopping for essentials or experiences.”