Online shopping is expected to account for 53 percent of UK retail sales over the next ten years, according to a report by Retail Economics.
The report, commissioned by law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, predicted the growth will be powered by three primary factors: the UK adult population's changing demographics, the development of faster, cheaper, in-home deliveries, and the reduced availability of physical stores.
Millennials and members of Gen-Z will make up half of adult consumers in 10 years, and their shopping habits will become more dominant as they enter the market. The research showed that 62 percent of 16-24-year-olds (Gen-Z) shop online at least twice a month, compared with just 29 percent of over-65-year-olds.
Millennials spend the highest proportion online (22.1 percent), averaging £42.32 (NZ$78.33) per transaction and spending £110.45 (NZD$204.44) a month.
Smartphones are also predicted to influence the shopping habits of adults, with over half of Gen-Z consumers describing their phones as their main source of awareness when it comes to new brands and retailers.
Cheaper, faster delivery and easier returns were listed as the top three factors that would accelerate online shopping for consumers, as well as the rise of in-home deliveries (deliveries whilst homeowners are out.)
After five consecutive years of net closures of retail stores, and with reduced footfall across UK high streets, shopping centres, and retail parks, the report concludes that this trend is only set to continue.
10 percent of consumers surveyed said they will shop less in physical stores in the next 12 months, outnumbering those who said they would increase their in-store shopping. This is despite the fact that a quarter of Gen-Z consumers said they are more likely to do their shopping in high streets and shopping centres than online.