- British consumers are leading the planet in a relentless march to switch all their shopping online. Britain is the No.1 country for online shopping.
- Right now, 29% of all shopping done by credit/debit card is done online in the UK. It was only 17% in 2011.
- British people currently spend an average of £1.2 billion online every week, up more than 10% on last year.
- At this rate, 50% of all shopping will be done online by 2030.
By the time you read this you will probably (hopefully) finished all of your Christmas gift shopping, so you will already know at some instinctual level that online shopping once again took a sizeable chunk of all retail activity.
But it is not until you see this chart of spending activity on debit and credit cards supplied by Barclays – which captures around 20% of all UK card transactions – that you can see just how relentlessly British consumers are switching over to online shopping from bricks-and-mortar retail:
There isn’t another trend in all of economics that is as astonishing and predictable as that upward pointing line. Even if you mentally discount the slope to account for the way Barclays begins the y-axis at 17%, it is still one of very few macroeconomics charts for which there is only one possible interpretation.
Online shopping is gaining more than one percentage point of market share per year. It suggests that by about 2030, half of all purchases of all kinds made by card will be done online.
British people currently spend an average of £1.2 billion online every week; up 10.2% to last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Britain leads the way globally in online shopping, according to this chart from Jordan Rochester, an analyst at Nomura:
All that online activity may be depressing the rate of inflation globally, Rochester argues. Consumers can compare prices more easily, driving them down through competition. And as retailers no longer need to rent expensive high-street store locations, they can reduce their costs by setting up cheap warehouses far from the trendiest neighbourhoods. Suppliers are subjected to the same forces too, meaning that entire countries – like Sweden – can import downward inflation pressure simply because so many people use Amazon (a phenomenon we previously dubbed “the Spotify problem“). Rochester writes:
“There are now more mobile phone subscriptions in the world than people, rising to a level where the world’s poorest households are more likely to have access to a mobile phone than to clean water.”
… “The argument for lower goods price inflation is clear; with smart phones, not only is online shopping more convenient, but while trying out goods in typical bricks and mortar stores you can decide to buy online for less (‘Showrooming’).”
And, of course, you don’t have to endure the crowds at the mall.