Brits spent average of £3,379 online in 2020 – too late to save the High Street?

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England’s eagerly awaited non-essential stores’ reopening date of 12 April may come too late to stop a permanent change in the way Brits shop, according to home delivery expert ParcelHero. It says UK shoppers spent an average £3,379 online last year, more than consumers in any other country.

ParcelHero’s figures are supported by research from payment machine comparison site Merchant Machine, which found that, although China and the USA have a higher overall online spend, per capita it’s much lower. Merchant Machine found China spends $1,276.2B (£954.9B) and the USA $830.7B (£621.6B), compared to the UK’s $233B (£174.3B).

But when averaged out over the number of online shoppers in each country, the UK had a significantly higher spend than any other nation. Brits’ annual online £3,379 shopping bonanza eclipsed Denmark’s £3,056 average online spend and America’s £2,753 average.

Clearly, e-commerce has become vital not only for retailers but the UK economy as a whole. Indeed, the news that online Brits now spend more online than any country per head comes as six of the country’s largest online retailers, including Asos, Boohoo and Ocado, launch the UK Digital Business Association (UKDBA).

Its aim is not only to give online retailers a voice and help to drive the economic recovery but also, crucially, to help store-based retailers develop their business online.

Says ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT:

“The reopening of many stores in April can’t come too soon for High Street retailers. In fact, it may be too late already. UK shoppers now lead the world in the great migration to online.

“Both England and Scotland are set to reopen non-essential stores in April. That will be a huge test for the future of the UK’s High Streets. Will the spring weather lure people back to town centre shops or will newly acquired online shopping habits prove too hard to kick?

“The answer is partly down to how well the country negotiates its way out of lockdown. Certainly, a fourth lockdown in England would spell the end for many physical stores.”

In January 2017, ParcelHero released a high-profile report: 2030: Death of the High Street. It concluded that, unless retailers developed an omnichannel approach embracing both online and physical store sales, 40% of all UK retail would move online by 2030. You can read the full report at: https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/news-updates/2030-dead-end-for-the-high-street

Chris Price
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