How much are we spending online?

One would think that during the summer months people would be streaming outside to make the most of our infrequent sunshine and getting that vitamin D fix.


Spending more online

Well, one would be wrong as apparently Britons have managed to spend £11.5 billion online in August, with the number of card transactions made on the internet increasing by 20 per cent in the past year, according to the latest figures from The UK Cards Association.

There were 130 million card payments online in August – almost 50 a second – up from 108 million in the same period last year. Clearly whatever sun we saw was from the reflection of our mobile and computer screens.


Low-value payments

Part of the reason that online transactions have jumped is because we have become more relaxed about making low-value payments online, with the average value of an online card transaction dropping by £8.44 in the past year, down to £85.27.

There are many reasons for this: the reduction of delivery charges, meaning people do not feel like they have to increase the value/content of their shopping cart to justify the cost of delivery. Promotions such as Amazon’s next-day delivery Prime service also encourage people to shop on a whim and more options in terms of delivery hours means it is now easier to for people to have parcels delivered after their working hours than postponing the purchase until the weekend when they would have to do it in-store.

Another reason could be more cultural. Our shopping behaviour has been evolving rather noticeably, and one of the main reasons we have become less reticent about making low-value purchases with cards online is because we have become less reticent about making  them real life.

The introduction of contactless cards is gently nudging the British public towards making low-value payments with cards rather than cash. That always will have translated onto the online world as people have begun associate cards with inexpensive purchases generally. Overall, more than a fifth (22.4 per cent) of all card spending is now online.


Financial services

Almost half (47 per cent) of all card spending on financial services is online – the highest proportion for any sector. Only 7 per cent of the total card spending on food and drink is online, although this has increased from 5 per cent in August 2014.

In total, all card spending increased by 0.5 per cent during August to reach £51.1 billion. There were 1.1 billioncard transactions in the month.

Richard Koch, head of Policy and The UK Cards Association, said“Whether it’s on the move using a mobile device, at work or home, the rise in online transactions shows how increasingly important the internet is in our everyday lives. Card payments are central to this transformation, enabling companies to do business online and consumers to make safe, reliable transactions.”

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