FROM HIGH STREET FIX TO BARGAIN CLICKS: OUR 6,830 MILE-A-YEAR SHOP REVEALED
- Growth in online shopping and payment technology means we now clock up one in four ‘shopping trips’ remotely
- Welsh travel furthest for their shopping, while Londoners have the high street on their doorstep
6,830 miles a year – that’s the distance the typical British shopper would have to travel to pick up and pay for all of their purchases in person. However, already over one in five of our ‘shopping trips’ are clocked up from the comfort of our homes or offices, with more and more consumers comfortable with buying and paying online or over the phone.*
The figures were published by Pay Your Way, the campaign helping people make sense of modern payment methods. The research looks at the range and distance of individual shopping trips we make, revealing that a typical British shopper covers 718 miles a year in person, squeezing in 81 actual shopping trips. These physical journeys include 35 supermarket sweeps, 20 trips down to the newsagent, and nine ‘wardrobe refresh’ missions.*
Diagram showing overall shopping miles on average for the UK
In contrast, the same typical shopper makes 22 online shopping trips a year, and the study estimates they would need to travel a total of 6,111 miles a year, in round trips to retailers’ nearest distribution centres, to pay for their items in person. Our virtual trips include an average three annual check-outs at an online food store, and seven online purchases of books and music.
How our ‘shopping miles’ compare across the country
The Pay Your Way research reveals that North Eastern wallets travel furthest of all, with the total distance of annual shopping trips – remote and in person – tallying 10,111 miles. By contrast, shoppers in the East Midlands have the virtual high street on their door step, with many of the UK’s biggest online retailers choosing to have their distribution hubs as centrally as possible. This brings the shopping miles total for East Midlanders in at a relatively modest 3,978 miles a year.
Sandra Quinn from the Pay Your Way campaign comments: “This study highlights how much further afield our pounds now go – meaning that we don’t have to! The growth in internet use and modern payment options has opened up much greater choice, access and convenience to consumers. And the slick systems used by retailers to deliver efficiently nationwide are matched by the ease with which we can choose and buy online in the first place.
“Already, one in three Brits say they prefer to shop online rather than in person, reflecting increasing confidence in remote payments, as well as the time pressures many people face today. Wherepeople understand and have confidence in newer payment options, by and large they’re quick to pick up and exploit their benefits.”
Map showing the average in person and online shopping miles per region
The rise of online shopping
According to the research, 32% of consumers prefer to shop online where given the choice. The popularity of ‘e-tail’ peaks among Britain’s 20-somethings (45%), and is at its lowest among over-70s, where a still impressive 20% favour the virtual high street to the real thing. Londoners live up to their fast-living image, with 2.5 million** of the capital’s consumers (42%) keen to count on remote shopping, compared to just 29% of shoppers in the North East of England, where shopping in person remains most popular of all***.
Sandra Quinn continues: “Our aim is to bring the facts about today’s payments options to the widest possible audience. We’re also keen to address any concerns people have, and to explain any changes to familiar options, while showing how future technologies like mobile phone payment could improve people’s everyday lives.”
The Payments Council is urging people who want to understand more about their payment options, or to test how much they think they know, to visit www.PayYourWay.org.uk, or to follow the campaign at twitter.com/PayYOURwayUK The website’s educational content will be regularly updated and leaflets will also be available.
*Research conducted by Opinium Research via an online poll of 1,967 GB adults, 25th – 28th March 2011 of claimed number of high street shopping visits and purchase in the last 12 months and Payments Council self completion survey data of online shopping visits and purchase in the last 12 months (2010, sample size 2,040 adults)
** ONS regional data put the population of Inner and outer London for 2010 of adults aged 18 and over as 6,085,327. 42% of 6,085,327 = 2,555,837
***Research conducted by Opinium Research via an online poll of 2,039 UK adults, 16th – 21st December 2010