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Why do Brits love online shopping?

Online Shopping Card Payment

Why do Brits love online shopping?

Several studies over the years have shown that Britain is one of the biggest nations in the world for online retail, if not THE biggest.

As far back as 2012, a report found that Brits spend a lot more money online than any other major nation. This was backed up again in 2019 when a study revealed that 38% of us here make at least one online purchase a year, compared to 26% in the US, and more recent research from Merchant Machine found that the UK trails only China and the US for total online spend, and spends far more per person than those two huge nations.

At the same time, Brits commonly lament the demise of the high street, so why do we head online for purchases so often? Is it down to push factors like working some of the longest hours in Europe, and of course being particularly hard-hit by Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns over the last couple of years, or do we actually enjoy buying goods and services on the internet?

A new study from parcel delivery company Hermes points towards the latter, with many Brits admitting to finding it an exciting experience. In fact, the study found almost half of UK online shoppers (48%) say receiving a delivery is “the highlight of their day”. Over a third (35%) admit to the “thrill” of a delivery, while a similar number of respondents (32%) appreciate the more pragmatic factor of being able to order and receive items while working from home.

However, it does appear that many UK shoppers view e-retail as something of a guilty pleasure. The survey draws particular attention to “green guilt”, with the majority (59%) saying they don’t know how to make green choices when shopping online, and over a third (35%) having concerns about whether their deliverer is following “green” policies.

I can’t help but feel Hermes used this survey as a vehicle to say how much people enjoy online shopping and to highlight its own environmental pledges, but nevertheless, it sheds light on both what people like about online shopping and the concerns. Companies selling online need to get the message across that customers can enjoy the benefits of internet retail without the guilt of harming the environment and brick-and-mortar stores.

Online shops could ask themselves what they can do to add to the “thrill” of shopping, such as including freebies and personalised notes, while at the same time upping their green credentials in their packaging and mode of delivery, including reducing the need for returns that add to a delivery’s carbon footprint.

At this point, I’d like to say I think Dell’s packaging efforts are fantastic. I was really pleased when a laptop I bought from the company arrived with no plastic in the package at all – and the item still in one piece!

As a starting point though, online retailers need a good website, and we can help you with that at Engage Web. Speak to our team to learn what we can do to attract traffic and improve user experience on your website and online store.

John Murray

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