How Many People Shop Online? (+9 Other Ecommerce FAQs Answered)

The ecommerce market has seen incredible growth over the past decade. With the global pandemic raging in 2020, more and more people started relying on digital stores to provide them with anything they may need — from grocery and clothes to electronics and furniture. 

In this article, we’ll examine how many people shop online and look into their demographics. We’ll also take an in-depth look into the current state of ecommerce, both globally and in the UK, and answer some other frequently asked questions on this topic.

How Many People Shop Online in the UK?

1. What percentage of people use online shopping?

(Statista, Oberlo)

The number of digital shoppers worldwide is increasing each year.

Looking at the UK market alone, 87% of consumers have made at least one online purchase in 2020. As for the global market, ecommerce industry experts predict that there will be 2.14 billion online shoppers by the end of 2021 — more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Following the pandemic-related 4.4% growth of ecommerce in 2020, the number of online buyers worldwide is projected to increase by another 4.4% in 2021.

2. How many people shop clothing online?

(Statista)

According to the most recent online shopping vs instore shopping statistics, online fashion shopping accounted for 29.5% of total fashion sales in 2020. The apparel ecommerce market’s total annual revenue reached £140.4 billion.

In the UK, 62% of women and 49% of men made at least one online clothing purchase during 2020. Online shopping stats reveal that women aged 35–44 are most likely to buy clothes online. Meanwhile, consumers over 65 are least likely to do so, as only 27% of them made a fashion-related internet purchase in 2020.

3. Who uses online shopping the most?

(Eurostat, BelVG)

If you think young people rely on online shopping the most, you’re right.

But looking at recent online shopping trends, it’s clear that internet shopping is growing among all age groups. The two groups leading the growths in the EU are people aged 16–24 and those in the 24–54 age group — 78% of shoppers in each of these brackets buy online.

One of the most misleading facts about online shopping is that women make a lot more online purchases than men. While it’s true that women are more frequent online buyers, the difference is hardly that big — 72% of women shop online, compared to 68% of men.

4. Which countries shop online the most?

(OptinMonster, business.com)

Internet shopping statistics reveal that American shoppers spend the most money online at £1,294 per shopper. UK consumers rank second, spending an average of £1,168.

But the countries with the most avid shoppers don’t necessarily have the largest ecommerce markets. In terms of ecommerce’s share in the country’s total retail revenue, China is the undisputed leader at 15.9%. It is followed by the UK (14.5%) and South Korea (9.8%).

According to online shopping statistics, the UK is far ahead of the US in this respect. In the United States, digital sales currently account for just 7.5% of the overall retail revenue.

5. Why is online shopping growing?

(BigCommerce, Sendcloud)

Numerous factors have contributed to the increase in online shopping. However, experts agree on the two core reasons — the rise of digital technologies (especially mobile) and the growing relevance of word-of-mouth marketing thanks to social media and influencers.

Other factors that could fuel further growth of online shopping include simpler and cheaper international shipping and even faster delivery times. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited global air traffic, making international deliveries much more complicated. The high shipping costs and long waiting times have made many people give up on their purchases.

6. How many people search online before making a purchase?

(Oberlo)

With the rise of digital shopping, the percentage of online shoppers making quick purchasing decisions is shrinking. Shoppers are aware of how saturated the market is and eager to ensure they’ll get their money’s worth — and the internet allows them to do so.

Global online shopping statistics suggest that 81% of shoppers research products and brands before making a final decision. What are they primarily looking for? Trustworthy recommendations from other shoppers, including reviews, videos, and social media posts.

How Many People Shop Online - Woman Using Laptop

7. What are people buying online?

(Statista)

Fashion is dominating global ecommerce, and the UK market is no exception. According to online retail statistics, 55% of UK consumers bought at least one piece of clothing or other apparel in 2020. Food ended up in second place, with 32% of UK consumers ordering it online. The least sold items online in 2020 were bicycles, cars, and other vehicles.

But what do women buy online, and how do their internet shopping habits differ from men’s?

Women are significantly more likely to buy fashion-related items — 71% say they’ve bought at least one such product compared to just 49% of men. Similarly, 54% of female shoppers have ordered cosmetics and beauty products, while only 33% of men say they’ve done so.

According to ecommerce statistics, there are no major differences in most other categories. The only product type where male consumers dominate the market is technology — 49% say they’ve bought some item from this category online, compared to 31% of women.

8. How much shopping is done online?

(Statista)

Although ecommerce keeps growing every year, its share in total retail is relatively small.

Industry experts predict that online shopping’s share in total sales will reach 22% by 2023. However, this doesn’t mean that ecommerce isn’t profitable. Online sales statistics from 2020 show that the total annual online shopping revenue was a staggering £2.55 trillion.

9. What age group does the most online shopping?

(Kinsta)

One of the best-known online shopping facts is that young buyers lead the market — 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen-Xers prefer buying online to shopping at physical stores.

These two age groups’ dominance isn’t surprising, as they’re more dependent on technology than other age groups. They also spend much more time shopping online than other age brackets — up to 50% more time, in fact. According to online shopping statistics, they’ll spend six hours shopping, as opposed to four hours for people in other age groups.

10. How many people use a mobile device to shop online?

(Oberlo, Statista)

A look at recent ecommerce trends reveals that more and more people are using their mobile devices to access ecommerce websites. The ever-increasing use of mobile devices is one of the driving factors behind the tremendous online shopping growth in recent years.

Globally, mobile currently accounts for 72.9% of all online purchases. In other words, nearly three out of every four online orders are submitted from mobile devices.

Mobile commerce is most popular in Indonesia and Thailand — as of Q3 2020, both these countries had more than 70% of mobile shoppers. The UK online shopping data points to a much lower mobile adoption rate, with just 46.5% of shoppers buying from their phones.

Conclusion

Online shopping will keep growing in the coming years.

As more people start discovering the convenience of online shopping, the number of consumers and the amount of money they spend online will increase. Of course, retail and physical stores aren’t going anywhere, but ecommerce’s revenue share will surely go up.

According to online shopping growth statistics, both UK and global shoppers want to see better shipping options, cheaper international fees, and shorter delivery times. Changes in this direction will be among the key market growth drivers in the future.

Sources:

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