Published on 13 Dec 2012 Sections , ,

Britain, a nation of internet shopaholics?

UK shoppers spend an average of £1,083 online every year, with Australians on £842 and the Swedes on £747. So why do we click, spend, spend?

Credit cards and computer screens go hand in hand this Christmas. (Getty)

“All of my shopping is done online. I haven’t been into a shop, any kind of shop, for over a year.” tweeted Channel 4 News follower Steve.

This view, and the tweets below, back up the findings of a new Ofcom survey which shows British consumers rule the world at online shopping, spending an annual total of around £66bn in clicks and downloads.

James Thickett, director of research at Ofcom, said: “We (Britons) have a long history of catalogue shopping in the UK, and as many daily activities are increasingly carried out online, the internet has become the new destination for many shoppers.”

And for the first time, UK consumers are downloading more data on their mobiles and tablets than any other western nation.

The UK has one of the highest levels of smartphone use, at 58 per cent, while 19 per cent have a tablet computer.

Only 37 per cent use a desktop computer as their first choice for browsing the internet.

Channel 4 News special report: Death of the high street 

Brits are also more likely to access TV shows on the web – 23 per cent of UK internet users do so every week compared with 17 per cent in the US.

James Thickett said: “We have always been a nation of TV lovers, and our research shows that UK consumers are world leaders in using the latest TV technology.

“By catching up on programmes online or using smart TVs, the UK public is finding new ways to enhance their viewing experience.”

Death of the high street?

But there are some who still prefer shopping the traditional pre-Christmas way – battling the cold, the traffic and fellow shoppers on the high street.

Tweeter Stephen Bellamy told Channel 4 News he tries to buy from small businesses to “avoid over-commercialisation” while Kieran Westbrook said he “couldn’t be bothered with having to collect packages from the post office”.

(Below: the warehouse floors fuelling our web shopping habits. Picture – Reuters)

A warehouse full of parcels ready to send to online shoppers. (Reuters)

Article topics