UK Consumers are being more cautious with their spending due to the ongoing cost of living crisis with impulse purchasing declining steeply. New research from Rithum found nearly two-thirds (59%) are considering more before making an online purchase and a third were more likely to return online purchases than last year.

The findings come from Rithum, which conducted a survey of UK consumers’ spending habits as the cost of living crisis continues.  The research found that while Brits are being more frugal with their spending, online shopping is still rising since the pandemic when consumers had to do their shopping online. ONS stats show that before the pandemic, internet sales made up 21% of total retail sales, whereas in 2023 online sales have been recorded as making up 25% of total sales. However, the ability to make free returns was a big deciding factor before pressing buy. Over a third (34%) of respondents said they wouldn’t purchase a home item (for instance, furniture) without free returns.

Prior to Covid, Whistl reported that the impulse buying market was worth over £3 billion every month. With two-thirds of respondents giving more thought to their purchases than last year, retailers are looking for ways to respond. “When consumers are thinking harder before making a purchase, they are also more likely to spend additional time researching before they spend. For brands and retailers, strong digital marketing is a must to put your product above the competition” said Vladi Schlesman, managing director for EMEA at Rithum.

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