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UK e-commerce spend rose by 8.4% year-on-year in April 2016

Online spending increases in 2015/16 as face-to-face transactions remain stagnant, finds Visa

The amount UK consumers spent online increased by 8.4% year-on-year in April, according to Visa, the largest increase in online sales seen since December 2014.

Research by the payments firm found an increase the number of year-on-year online transactions made by consumers, although the number of face-to-face transactions only saw a 0.2% rise.

This rise in e-commerce sales in April is almost double the increase in year-on-year sales seen in March 2016, up 4.1% from the same period in the previous year.

Face-to-face card-based sales saw a 1% decline in March 2016, in comparison to the same period in 2015.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director, Visa Europe, explained the type of transactions being made signalled the move towards an “experience economy” whereby consumers are spending less on physical goods and more on experience-based goods such as holidays or eating out.

A few years ago, it was predicted the high street would “die out” as consumers moved more towards online and mobile retail, but instead consumers leveraged technology to opt for whatever service was most convenient.

This led to an increase in showrooming, whereby brands use physical shops to showcase products and present customers with a brand experience, so whether a transaction has taken place in a store or online is becoming less important for retailers.

Many believe omni-channel is still in its early stages, and not only are retailers still not sure how best to provide services in the way customers want them, but that customers are still not sure how they prefer to shop.

Although online spending in the UK saw the most significant growth, spending across all channels has been slowly increasing, reaching an annual increase of 2.5% in April 2016.

But the same story cannot be told for other regions, with areas such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) seeing significant but slow growth in e-commerce.

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