January 30, 2012, 4:05 PM

U.K. shoppers spend 48% of their monthly retail budgets online

A new survey breaks down the British online shopper.

Allison Enright

Editor

Lead Photo

Results from a nationwide online survey of 1,000 U.K. online shoppers reveal that British consumers like shopping online, but continue to spend more of their shopping budgets at bricks-and-mortar stores. The survey’s sponsor, web site building and hosting provider BaseKit Platform, says the results show that e-retailers should make improvements to their web sites so that consumers’ spending will measure up to their interest in online shopping.

The survey says the average British consumer devotes 2.4 hours per week to shopping online compared with 1.2 hours per week shopping in stores—yet that consumers spend more in stores than online. The British consumer spends an average of 126 pounds ($198) per month in stores compared with 116 pounds ($182) spent online; that’s a total of 242 pounds ($380). Women spend an average of 212 pounds ($333) monthly for retail goods, with that total split very nearly in half between online and store retailers: 49.5% is spent online and 50.5% in stores. Men, meanwhile, spend more of their retail budgets in stores (53.0%) versus online (47.0%). Men also spend more overall at retail each month, an average of 273 pounds ($429).

Online shopping draws heavy interest from consumers age 55 and older, 86% of whom say they shop online regularly. More than a third (36%) of consumers in this age group say they do the majority of their retail shopping online. 59.2% of consumers age 55 and older cite the ability to have online orders delivered to their homes as a prime motivation for shopping online because it saves them from having to carry products home from stores. BaseKit provided no figures for other age groups. British consumers across all age groups say they shop online because it is convenient (60.5%) and because they get better deals online (53.4%).

“This research highlights that Brits are increasingly taking shopping behavior online, not just young people,” says Chris Winstanley, vice president of marketing for BaseKit. “With [older consumers] now the U.K.’s biggest online shoppers, retail outlets must consider their web sites as, if not more, important as their physical stores to cater to this group and should be developing sites that are easier for older people to navigate.” Winstanley says the data reveal British consumers are “obsessed” with online shopping and e-retailers should develop web sites that take advantage of that interest.

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