The UK Increasingly Loves Online Purchases

June 23, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

It’s likely not much of a surprise that more people in the United Kingdom are buying things online. After all, that’s the case most everywhere these days; just ask anyone who didn’t set foot in a mall back in December. This may be true all over, but new reports from the Retail Banking Research firm suggest that in the UK, it may be even more true.

The worldwide picture for ecommerce was impressive by any measure, with $2.7 trillion in 2015 alone which represents a 26 percent growth over 2014.With the current levels projected to hit $6 trillion worldwide by 2021, it’s obviously that companies are planning to take better advantage of ecommerce, mobile payments, and similar matters.

The UK is a major factor in this growth, as cashless purchases actually doubled just over the last 10 years. In 2016, UK shoppers represented 16.4 billion total purchases, and that number was up from 6.7 billion in 2006. That’s really almost triple, and given the proportion of those purchases featuring a card-not-present option—39 percent of purchases were either online or contactless in 2016, up from 24 percent rate in 2015—the amounts will likely only increase.

Mobile app payments, meanwhile, are seeing some of the biggest growth in the UK; Barclaycard’s research arm noted a 90 percent rise in the Android app the company offers just over this year. Some are even projecting that there may be an end of cash use in some regions within a few years, just because people will prefer other options.

We’ve already seen how people are considering the end of cash; the United States would be more interested if security were better. India has been frantically pushing toward that end, with some disastrous results. We’re seeing mobile payments take over large portions of the African market, and China is certainly eager to get in on this. People want mobile payments; the combination of convenience and near-term safety—you can’t be mugged for money you don’t have—is a big draw.

While there’s still a long way to go before a cashless society really hits, there’s little doubt that such a notion is gaining ground. Mobile payments might be the way to go pretty much everywhere before too much longer.