Britain’s 2018 spending habits explained

Neteller found that vehicles, holidays and food were the industries most invested in by UK online consumers in 2018.

Shopping online is supposedly easy and stress free, but it can also cause many regrettable purchases for Brits, according to a new survey conducted by digital wallet and money transfer provider Neteller.

The online spending habits of 1000 UK consumers were examined to find out where Brits spend most of their money, what they regret buying most and where they did their online shopping.

From the survey, the results revealed that vehicles, holidays and food were the industries most invested in, in 2018. However, not all Brits were truly content with these purchases.

CEO of Neteller, Skrill and Income Access at Paysafe, Lorenzo Pellegrino, said: “Online shopping makes it easy to buy anything you want, at any time, with just a few clicks - so it’s important to be smart about your spending.”

The survey revealed that most consumers did their shopping in informal settings or while distracted with other tasks; with 58% of respondents making a purchase while watching TV, 42% buying something while in bed or 22% while at work. Perhaps their lack of focus contributed to their feelings of regret.

Consumers spent an average of £5,029 on vehicle-related online purchases in the last 12 months, although 27% of those surveyed admitted that they did feel guilty about making these investments. Shoppers in the West Midlands paid by far the most — £14,727 last year on average—compared to the lowest monthly vehicle spend of £1,171 over the year in the East Midlands. Those in the North-East spent £3,235 last year on average, but 80% said that they regretted their purchase.

Holidays were the next highest online investment overall in 2018 with respondents spending an average of £2,832 on vacationing. Amounts spent on holidays varied greatly depending on where consumers were based in the UK, with those in the East Midlands spending most and those in Wales paying least. Thankfully, many didn’t regret their holiday purchases, suggesting that most of those surveyed did actually enjoy their time away.

Online food purchases came in as the third most invested industry in the UK, with an average country-wide spend of £1,596 per year. As well as essential food items, Britons also spent an average of over £800 a year on online takeaway food and £1,115 on alcohol. Among the top spenders were residents of Northern Ireland, who spent (£2,397) on alcohol alone, followed closely by London (£2,221).

However, 34% of online consumers did regret their fast food purchases, with almost half of millennials admitting that they ordered takeaways generally when they were drunk or bored. Fewer alcohol shoppers regretted their purchases (24%), however, the survey revealed that online alcohol consumers were likely to buy booze if they’d had a few drinks already (21% of Londoners) or if there was a sale on (23% of women).

Of the purchases Britons say they regretted most in 2018, fashion scored highest—44% bought something they wished they hadn’t.

Pellegrino suggests that online consumers can take control of their spending habits and avoid regretting making purchases by using Neteller. He said: “Millions of people all over the world use Neteller to make online payments. It lets you track recent transactions, spend using a prepaid card and earn reward points that you can redeem for cash.”

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