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Consumer Spending Trends for 2021 and Beyond

By Sponsor

11 Oct 2021


The pandemic has massively changed the way consumers around the globe shop, including driving them online and accelerating digital wallet usage. For retailers, this shift has created opportunities for innovation: new channels, new fulfilment strategies and payment solutions.

Payment is a key element of the customer journey and of all relationships between a retailer and its customers. “70% of consumers are more likely to spend more at a retailer that offers their preferred payment method,” explains Mark Rosales, VP, Business Development, Payments/Banking/Fintech, at BigCommerce. “So knowing how customers want to pay, and giving them the right options on every channel is something that retailers can easily implement and quickly benefit from.”

We recently made a survey to help retailers better understand how consumer spending has evolved. Here is an overview of the data we found about UK consumers and some global insight — US and Australian consumers included.

Where are consumers spending their money?

With little surprise since COVID-19 happened, 62.5% of all respondents and 69.6% of the UK based ones report spending less in person and more online while 19.6% state they are spending about the same in person and more online.

In terms of product discovery, close to half (54.8%) of those surveyed reported finding new products on social media at least once a month. But only 10% purchase something discovered on social media directly from their feed while 40.5% go to the retailer’s website, 42% search for it on a marketplace 42% and 7.4% find it in person.

They’re also relying heavily on their mobile devices to make purchases. In fact, 66.7% of respondents make a purchase on their mobile device at least once a month while 17.9% make a purchase on their mobile device more than once a week.

These data highlight the importance of creating a cohesive omnichannel strategy that focuses on the four pillars of success: sales, marketing, operations and fulfilment.

How do consumers feel about shopping online versus in-person?

Even though the majority of consumers surveyed have made an online purchase (95.2%) since March 2020, how do they actually feel about their shopping experiences online versus in-person?

Notably, a slight majority of 36.1% in the UK prefer in-person shopping and 21.9% think in-person shopping is better than online shopping. But 29.9% admit the benefits of online shopping outweigh the trade-offs.

When asked what retailers can do to encourage shopping, one theme that emerged was “easy pickup or delivery options” and respondents commented “Have lower free shipping costs or local pick up if possible”, “Free shipping or option to pick up conveniently” or “Local pick up” for instance. To connect in-person and online experiences, fashion retailers could invest into buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) — also called click and collect — for order fulfilment. When coupled with curbside pickup, BOPIS provides a safe way to shop by optimising customers’ time spent in store.

How are consumers paying for their purchases?

Since March 2020, consumers have increasingly used digital wallets for both online and in-store purchases.

Before March 2020, 38% of the UK respondents used to prefer this payment method online and they are now 45.8%. They are 35.2% globally which shows how much the UK consumers are in need to get this option offered by retailers.

Same observation in-store as 22,8% of all the respondents and 37.8% of the UK ones choose digital wallet as their preferred payment method. A bigger shift since they used to be 12.1% globally and 22.9% in the UK to think so before the start of the COVID.

As digital wallet usage expands in popularity for both online and in-person shopping, they’re no longer a nice-to-have option; they’re a must have especially if you are currently or planning on selling your fashion brand online in the UK.


With ecommerce on an upward trajectory and continuing to grow, consumer trends and shopping habits are constantly evolving. Will consumers continue with the same behaviours and preferences they’ve picked up since March 2020? While consumer spending trends may change, the key to success is to remain agile and adaptable. And savvy retailers know that they can’t overinvest in a single channel; they need an omnichannel approach.

Download the full report to access more data, takeaways and advice.

Consumer behaviour