COVID accelerates e-commerce adoption among older generation

New research has revealed a significant uptake in online spending among those aged 55 to 75 and a rise in digital payments, including card and contactless methods, across all demographics.

Payments provider Elavon commissioned Ipsos Mori to survey 1,101 adults across the UK, finding that 47 per cent of 55 to 75 year-olds spent more online than before the start of the lockdown period in the UK.

The research showed online spending increased across all age groups as more people opt to shop at home. According to recent Office for National Statistics data, online retail sales accounted for 28 per cent of all retail sales in July, a 53 per cent increase on the same period in 2019.

The survey also showed that 68 per cent of UK adults will actively opt for contactless and card payments as their preferred method for in-person purchases going forward.

The 25 to 34 year-old demographic were the least likely in the UK to use cash, according to Elavon, with just one in 20 seeking to pay using coins or notes.

The most likely to use cash were 45 to 54 year-olds at 12 per cent – but even so, they were still more than five times more likely to use contactless and card payments.

The research confirmed a similar acceleration of e-commerce and cashless adoption in other parts of Europe. About half of all adults (52 per cent) in the UK, (49 per cent) Ireland and (48 per cent) Poland, compared to about a third (32 per cent) in Germany increased their online spending since COVID-19.

Simon Tune, commercial director for Elavon Europe, said: “Online shopping became crucial when physical stores shut, but with social distancing ingrained and the potential for localised lockdowns, habits seem here to stay.

“It’s a good opportunity for businesses to step-up – the easier companies can make the shopping and payments experience for customers, the more likely they can maximise shopper loyalty and revenue potential.”

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