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New record for online shopping: £422 million a day spent in UK. Here’s how to cut your spending addiction

Online shopping reached a new record in the past year. Card spending online totaled up £154 billion in the UK, which is equivalent to £422 million a day. Since figures show that people are becoming more and more addicted to online shopping, here are a some tips from experts to reduce as much as possible the impact of this bad habit, especially for your wallet.

The latest data released by the UK Cards Association show that, in the past two years, internet spending has leapt by 28%, given that in 2014 online spending amounted to £120 billion. In the same interval, the average card purchase online has dropped by £9, highlighting that internet shopping is no longer the domain of big ticket items. However the average e-commerce purchase (£85) is still more than double in-store sales (£38).

“Analysis finds one in four card purchases online is on entertainment, with consumers buying cinema and concert tickets, takeaway orders and digital content,” the report found.


Moreover, figures show that the UK spends more online per household than any other country, at 5,900 US dollars in 2015 – higher than Norway (5,400 US dollars), the US (4,500 US dollars) and Australia (4,000 US dollars).

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The report covers debit and credit card transactions made over the internet and processed in the UK also found that:

1. A quarter (26 per cent) of all card spending was online last year, up from 22 per cent in 2014.

2. 1.8 billion purchases were made online in 2016, an average of 150 million a month. This is an increase of 38 per cent from 1.3 billion in 2014

3. Entertainment sales make up the highest proportion of all online purchases (26 per cent); although these only account for 7 per cent of the total value, reflecting the relatively low cost of digital entertainment such as apps and music downloads

4. While 41 per cent of in-store card purchases are on food and drink, the sector only makes up 7 per cent of online transactionsMore than a quarter (27 per cent) of all online spending by value is on financial services, the highest share of any sector.


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“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,” Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said.

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According to the same report, there is a dominance of online spending in certain sectors, respectively:

1. Nearly four in every ten pounds (37 per cent) spent on travel is paid for online, with 54 per cent of spending on flights made through the internet

2. Consumers now go online for a quarter (23 per cent) of all clothing spending

3. Event tickets are now mainly bought via the internet, with 67 per cent of concert ticket spending and 61 per cent of cinema, theatre and dance spending made online

4. In-store shopping still dominates at some businesses such as pawn shops (98.6 per cent of spending in-store), laundry and cleaning (98.3 per cent), and pubs (98.2 per cent).

How to cut the craving to spend online asked Dominic Baliszewski, director of consumer strategy at financial health website Momentum UK, for some tips on how to hold in leash online spending.

1. Use discount codes – Hundreds of online retailers offer discount codes and you can find them with a simply search online for the store you wish to buy from. All you have to do is to type ‘discount codes’ into a search engine and it’s likely that codes will appear. Still, you should avoid buying something you don’t really want just because of a voucher.

2. Don’t store your credit card details on websites – By entering your credit card and billing information each time you make a purchase you’ll end up saving money, as the extra time required to take your credit card out of your wallet and manually enter the information will make you think twice about the purchase.

3. Money management apps, the life jacket for your wallet – Money management apps that bring all of your finances together in one place will help you keep track of your online spending. Moreover, they can help you save money, around £2,326 in nine months, as YNAB claims it can save the average user. Also, Momentum’s Moneyhub app can help you spot ways of cutting back to free up cash, enabling you to set goals on spending targets for certain things and alerting you to when you’re close to them.

4.Use cashback sites – Cashback websites like TopCashback or Quidco – who will then get paid (by the brand) for ‘referring’ you to them – not only they’re free to join, but also help you earn money on any online purchases you make with eligible retailers, given that they pay you a cut (into your member’s account) as a reward for using their services, and as an incentive to encourage you to return. Moreover, you can then transfer the cash earned into your bank account.

Madeline Gorthon