The rise of online shopping means its little wonder online spending is ramping up, with new research highlighting just how rapidly this sector is expanding – figures from The UK Cards Association show that internet spending has jumped by more than a quarter in just two years, as growing numbers of consumers head to the web.
The research found that the total amount spent online in 2016 stood at an impressive £154 billion, an increase of 28% from 2014, when online card spending totalled £120 billion. This means an average of £422 million is now spent online every single day, with the ease of making those click-happy purchases – not to mention the added benefits through things like cashback and credit card rewards – surely adding to the total.
Indeed, 26% of all card spending was online last year, up from 22% in 2014, with a total of 1.8 billion online purchases made over the year (an average of 150 million each month), an increase of 38% from the 1.3 billion online purchases made in 2014. Consumers in the UK even outpace their global neighbours in terms of online spending, with the figures further revealing that the UK spends more online per household than any other country surveyed – they spent an average of US$5,900 per household in 2015, higher than Norway (US$5,400), the USA (US$4,500) and Australia (US$4,000).
But where is all this money going? Well, entertainment (including things like cinema tickets, takeaways and digital content) accounts for 26% of online card purchases, with 67% of concert ticket spending and 61% of cinema, theatre and dance spending made online. Nearly four in every 10 pounds (37%) spent on travel is paid for online, too, with 54% of spending on flights made through the internet – highlighting the growing trend of online travel comparisons – while 23% of all clothing spending happens through the net.
"The internet enables millions of people to access services around the clock from wherever they are based," said Richard Koch at The UK Cards Association. "Payment cards have driven this revolution, providing an easy and secure way to shop online, whether it is to buy an app for your phone or a sofa for your living room.
"Since the early days of internet shopping there has been a host of innovations, from digital wallets to one click purchases, which bring enhanced security, choice and convenience for customers and which will lead to continued growth in the sector. The additional protection provided when using a card also gives consumers extra peace of mind when they are shopping online."
Considering the benefits of shopping online, it's little wonder so much is now spent in this way. There's now less to worry about in terms of security, while things like cashback websites enable shoppers to get something back with the simple click of a mouse, and that's before we even get to things like online vouchers and discount codes.
Spending via credit card can have additional benefits, too. Not only is it a more secure way to pay online, at least when compared with debit cards, but credit cards often come with added cashback and rewards – and if combined with a cashback site, you can get double the benefit!
Start by checking out the best cashback credit cards on the market, or if you're after rewards of a different variety, we've got a Best Buy table for that, too. Either way, you could find it far more beneficial than spending on a regular card, so start comparing the options and make your online shopping even more rewarding.
Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.