Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Online shopping has outstripped all other forms of spending over the past month, with more than half of UK shoppers (57 per cent) saying they are shopping online more than ever and record numbers signing up to virtual experiences like home fitness classes, TV and film subscriptions and online learning during lockdown.

The research from Mastercard revealed that over a third of Brits (35 per cent) are spending more money on virtual experiences, with the majority (63 per cent) watching TV or films through an online subscription service, nearly half virtually visiting museums and other places of interest, and a third (30 per cent) ‘attending’ exercise classes online.

According to the research, the times we are living in have also made us more generous with 37 per cent saying they have donated to charity online in the last month and 20 per cent donating for the first time.

Brits are also using the extra time indoors as an opportunity to learn new online skills, with a third (36 per cent) starting to bank online, a quarter (24 per cent) learning how to manage their health and get their medicines online and one in five (19 per cent) learning a new language – très  bon!

One in ten (10 per cent) are learning to code, 12 per cent are using the internet to help them learn to play a musical instrument and 17 per cent have followed online guides to cut hair!

As half of all UK shoppers have been purchasing their essentials online, some of the most popular trends include buying books (30 per cent), hair clippers (20 per cent) and fitness equipment like dumbbells and yoga mats (21 per cent).

The research revealed that online shopping habits also seem to mirror real life behaviours, with 44 per cent of typical in-store bargain hunters spending hours searching different sites to find the best deals and two in three (74 per cent) self-confessed window shoppers saying they regularly browse and create wish lists but don’t always buy.  Nearly half of new online shoppers (45 per cent) say they remain loyal to real life counterparts.

The majorit of Brits (75 per cent) are careful about what and where they shop online, with 63 per cent saying they worry about becoming a victim of online fraud or ‘scamming’. In a bid to maintain payment safety online, 75 percent of UK shoppers tend to stick to familiar retailers, 73 per cent check site or buyer reviews and a quarter (26 per cent) will contact new or unknown sellers before purchasing.


Mastercard’s top tips for keeping safe online


  • Choose secure webpages: Only pay for goods online via a secure webpage. Secure pages will begin with ‘https’ and will feature a locked padlock symbol in the browser
  • Keep your details safe: Never send your bank or credit card details via email, text message, social media or over unverified phone calls
  • Update your security protection: Make sure you update your security protection for whichever device you plan on shopping with, whether it be your phone, laptop or tablet
  • Trust your instinct: If you see an offer online that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Always do your research if unsure