Online Shopping – An Overview Of The Basics

Although retail shopping immediately springs to mind when most people think of online shopping, it actually covers a wider range of goods and services. Many Britons use electronic commerce to buy products from online stores and/or private buyers. However, they’re increasingly using the internet to meet many of the needs including entertainment, booking holidays and buying financial services like insurance. In this article we examine:

  • The number of Britons shopping online
  • The cost of online grocery shopping
  • Ways to save money shopping online
  • Reducing your delivery costs

How many people shop online in the UK?

According to recent statistics, the amount of money spent online has risen dramatically from £1 of every £10 in 2013 to £1 of every £5 in 2018. It has been estimated that 43.5 million Britons have shopped online. Although there’s very difference between the sexes, the frequency which they shop depends on their age. If online shoppers make an average of 6 online purchases per month, the 25-32 age group do the most online shopping with an average of 8.

Half of over 65 year old British consumers are online shoppers

Over 65s used to shop online the least. However, the gap is closing. According to the ONS, the number of over 65s who are online shoppers has tripled in a decade and now stands at nearly half (48%).

Is online grocery shopping cheaper?

Although Britons have embraced the advantages of e-commerce, grocery shopping trails behind other goods and services. According to the UK Cards Association, only 7% of online shopping is spent on food and drink compared to 41% of shopping in-store by card.

You can make savings on your grocery bills if you shop on the internet. Online sites enable you to compare the same products in different supermarkets to see which store would be cheapest. These sites can also scan the products in your online basket and make suggestions for cheaper alternatives, having searched all the stores for special offers and promos. Using the supermarket cashback app or cashback sites can mean further savings as you’ll be able to receive discounts, refunds and/or free products.

A man is shown on his laptop shopping for groceries online

The main drawback of doing your grocery shopping online is that if a product on your order isn’t available, it’s the supermarket employee’s responsibility to find you an equivalent product. You might find that this replacement isn’t what you would have chosen, and it could be a more expensive alternative.

How can you reduce the delivery costs?

Some consumers are put off shopping online because of the additional cost of having their groceries delivered. However, there are a number of ways to reduce delivery costs. If possible, you should select off-peak times for the goods to be delivered. This is usually on weekday evenings and at weekends.

When considering online shopping with home delivery, you should weigh up how much you spend on travelling to the supermarket.

If you regularly have groceries delivered, all UK supermarket chains have a delivery pass. Over its term, you’re entitled to unlimited deliveries as long as you exceed the minimum spend (usually about £40).

When considering online shopping with home delivery, you should weigh up how much money you usually spend on travelling to the supermarket. When you take into account petrol/parking or public transport fares, it soon mounts up and might even be more than delivery costs.

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