The way in which we shop has changed significantly over the past decade. Online shopping has dominated the retail sector in recent years, with Millennials driving the trend.

From the way we make purchases, to the delivery options available, here we’ll look at the behaviour of an online shopper in the UK today.

How are purchases made today?

According to a recent study, around 54% of shoppers look online for the goods they need, rather than heading to their local store. The reasons cited for this include being able to compare prices and enjoy a more comfortable shopping experience. There’s no denying shopping online is much more convenient.

Interestingly, shoppers prefer to make purchases online in the evenings. Around half of shoppers use their laptop to shop, while mobile devices came a close second at 43%.

What delivery options do UK shoppers opt for?

Another annual retail survey has revealed the importance of delivery to UK consumers. There are three things consumers look out for in terms of delivery including speed, cost and tracking.

More than a third of shoppers prefer next day delivery, with most opting for home over workplace delivery options. Most challenging for businesses, is the trend for free deliveries. UK shoppers have become accustomed to receiving free next day deliveries. The report showed that a huge 73% of shoppers would consider abandoning a purchase if there was a cost for delivery. This is particularly challenging for large parcel delivery which is a lot more expensive than standard parcel delivery.

Parcel tracking is also an important feature. When given the option, 46% of shoppers choose to track their parcels. This is because it provides peace of mind letting customers know when their parcels are arriving and where they are now.

Return trends and numbers

Unsurprisingly, consumers like to have the option to return their goods that they purchase online. Worryingly for businesses, the number of returns appears to be increasing year upon year. The fashion industry is particularly feeling the effects of customer returns, with Black Friday said to have cost the industry £1.6 billion in returns alone.

By 2023, it is expected returns will account for a staggering £5.6 billion. This is according to data provided by GlobalData. The trouble with online shopping is that customers can’t see or try on their items. So, there is a higher probability they’ll need to make a return on things such as clothing and shoes.

These recent statistics show just how much the shopping experience has changed in the UK. The internet has made it easier for consumers to purchase what they need without leaving the comfort of their own homes. Advancements in online payments has also contributed to the rise in online shopping.