Skip to main content

How our shopping habits are changing

Shopping habits are changing

We know that during the last couple of decades the way we shop has evolved. Instead of shopping in traditional shops on the high street or shopping centers, consumers are increasingly shopping online for goods.

With a few clicks on our device, we can order goods to be delivered directly to our door, sometimes in as little as a couple of hours! With this in mind we ask the question "Has the way we shop changed forever?"

We have looked into the changes to our shopping habits to find out how and why our shopping habits have changed.

We also wanted to find out what we can expect for the future. Will the way we shop keep evolving and what role does technology play in our future shopping journeys?

Internet shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other country and accounts for 30% of the total retail market in the UK (up from 20% in 2020). 82% of the UK population bought at least one product online in 2021.

The growth of online retailing is driving a relentless pursuit of value for money. People continue to look online for the best deals and prices. This is driving the proportion of money being spent online. The internet is now the natural place for shoppers to look for fashion, health and beauty, home and garden, consumer electronics and travel services. One key trend is to physically look at or try a product in-store and then go home to buy it at a better price online or via a smartphone or tablet. Click and collect is also becoming much more popular. 

Ref: International Trade Administration

The shopping habits of consumers have changed dramatically over the past few decades. The rise in online retail and an increased focus on quality have been two major factors in this shift.

In recent years, there has been a shift in shopping habits as consumers become savvier and more selective in their spending. This is due to a number of factors, including the rise of online shopping, the growth of social media, COVID-19 pandemic and recession. As a result of these changes, shoppers are now more likely to research products before making a purchase, compare prices between different retailers, and look for deals and discounts. They are also increasingly influenced by product reviews and recommendations from friends and family.

Ref: Funtimes

Millennials and Gen Xers are the biggest online shoppers, with 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers preferring to shop online versus in a brick-and-mortar store. Part of the reason you see these two segments of the population spending more money online is that they spend more time shopping online. Millennials and Gen Xers spend 50% more time shopping online than their older counterparts. Though women are stereotypically pinned as shoppers, when it comes to online shopping, men dominate the stats, spending 28% more than women shopping online.

The statistics about ecommerce shopping behaviors are incredibly revealing: 43% of online shoppers have reported making purchases while in bed, 23% at the office, and 20% from the bathroom or while in the car. 

Though the United States is often thought of as the largest market for ecommerce, it isn’t. However, it does make the list of the top 10 largest ecommerce markets in the world:

China: $672 billion
USA: $340 billion
United Kingdom: $99 billion
Japan: $79 billion
Germany: $73 billion
France: $43 billion
South Korea: $37 billion
Canada: $30 billion
Russia: $20 billion
Brazil: $19 billion

Ref: Statista

In March of 2023, the largest share of mobile clothing shoppers in the United Kingdom consisted of people aged 25 to 34 (52.3 percent). Adults between the ages of 18 and 24 made up the second largest share with 22.4 percent of the apparel shopping mobile audience. 

Ref: Marketing Week

The cost of living crisis has drastically impacted consumer shopping habits with more than 60% of customers now actively looking for the lowest price when shopping, according to the 2023 data from IPA TouchPoints. This figure is 11% higher than pre-lockdown in 2020 when 55% said the same. 

With annual food inflation still running at a rampant 16.5% in June 2023 – a sizeable drop on the 17.5% recorded in March but still the sixth highest figure recorded since the 2008 financial crash – shoppers are taking it upon themselves to ease the effects of inflation. 

What is the role for loyalty in a cost of living crisis?The survey of 3,000 adults across the UK shows 60.9% of shoppers now look for the lowest price and best deals when shopping and that 41.6% search for money-off vouchers (up by 31% since 2020) to lower the cost of their shop. 

Financial difficulties have also made consumers significantly less loyal to their preferred brand, the data shows, with half of consumers (52.9%) saying they will gladly switch brands to make use of a coupon (up by 13%). Meanwhile, 42.7% use a range of supermarkets and shops for their weekly groceries in order to get the best prices, up 14% from 37.5% in 2020.

It’s not just spending habits that have been affected by the cost of living crisis, the amount of time consumers spend shopping has dropped too.

Ref: Curated

What the future of shopping looks like.

In the new shopping paradigm, consumer trends and demands will evolve at warp speed, but retailers will be equipped with the tools to stay one step ahead.

It is suggested that this is what shopping would look like in 2030!

Inside physical stores will be full suites of interactive technology, enabling unimaginable levels of personalisation that effectively blur the boundary between digital and physical shopping. eCommerce will have become integrated into every facet of consumers’ online lives.

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence will enable brands to forecast consumer demand with unprecedented levels of precision and improve supply chain efficiency, thereby eliminating overproduction and waste.

Spurred by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the evolution of retail and eCommerce shifted into high gear, rapidly hurtling towards 2030. Suddenly faced with new consumer demands, supply chain challenges, and greater reliance on eCommerce, brands had to innovate if they wanted to survive into the future.


5 Key Developments to Anticipate in the Future of Shopping

1. Instant Shopping Becomes Truly Instant

The concept of “going shopping,” which might look like blocking off an hour or more to peruse physical stores or eCommerce shops, will have become nearly obsolete. In 2030, opportunities to purchase will be enmeshed in our daily lives, instantly bridging the gap between inspiration and purchase.

While watching Netflix, you will have the ability to freeze the frame, tap on a character’s outfit from your smartphone, and access links to instantly purchase the items you want in your size. While playing video games, digitally-fashioned avatars will don real styles you can buy mid-game. 

Outside, billboards will be replaced with touchscreens and interactive ads. Any passerby can pause, tap, and buy featured items, while mobile wallets will be equipped to instantly input shipping information and issue payments on the go. 

2. Personalisation is Everywhere

In 2030, every imaginable aspect of shopping will truly become personalised, making the process of discovery, purchase, and receiving goods completely effortless. 


Advanced analytics, drawing from historical and real-time shopper behavioral data will allow in-store staff to know pertinent information about each individual who enters the shop. If the buyer is a loyal customer, retailers will have an understanding of past purchases, taste, and preferences. They’ll be able to offer curated support based on the needs of new and existing customers.

Digital technology such as smart mirrors, digital mannequins, QR codes, interactive apps, and more – will become a staple of physical retail in the future of shopping, allowing brands and retailers to provide guided digital journeys through brick-and-mortar stores. 


By 2030, eCommerce personalisation will characterise every aspect of the online shopping experience, as each digital touchpoint will be tailored to the individual shopper. 

Emotionally intuitive technology will continuously assess shoppers’ contexts and moods from the moment they enter your website or app. The products featured on the home screen, text on the page, use of the shopper’s name, and promotion of certain products and collections will all be tailored to match the shopper’s unique tastes.  

The departure from traditional online advertisements in the early 2020s will have paved the way for deeper levels of relationship-building with shoppers fast forward to 2030. By developing strong, two-way relationships with customers through loyalty programs, community activities, and clubs, brands in 2030 will be better able to understand individual shoppers’ personalities and tailor experiences to their needs.

3. Digital Fashion is Mainstream in the Future of Shopping

The luxury sector was the first to embrace NFTs when they first emerged in the 2020s. By 2030, fashion NFTs will have become commonplace, offering new opportunities for designers to create experimental lines and produce alternative revenue streams. 

Digital fashion will revolutionise the role of social media influencers. In the past, brands gifted influencers clothing and accessories with the hope that the influencer would promote the items to their followers. But with the rising costs of shipping and sustainability concerns surrounding freebies, digital fashion will trump this arrangement in 2030.  Influencers will instead promote styles that resonate with them and get paid for such authenticity. This approach will set the pace for brands and retailers to establish more partnerships with influencers while saving on resources and limited inventory. 

4. Supply Chain and Logistics Are Built to Be Nimble

Once the retail industry recovers from COVID-19-related supply chain challenges, it will have developed a more resilient approach to logistics. Sophisticated data-driven and AI-powered supply chain models will manage every component of the retail supply chain, including production, freight, warehousing, inventory management, and shipping. 

A powerful combination of real-time consumer purchasing data, historical trend data, and external monitoring tools will feed AI algorithms that inform supply chain management. In 2030, brands and retailers will be able to instantly respond to unexpected changes by rapidly altering manufacturing volumes and managing current inventory.

With a better ability to adapt to demand, shipping companies will have the insights they need to enable even faster and more efficient shipping. Shoppers in the year 2030 will be able to choose their preferred fulfillment method – whether direct shipping, drone, or pick-up – and receive their orders faster than ever.    

5. Sustainability Becomes the Norm

Insights derived from personalisation engines, supply chain management algorithms, and shipping usage will enable true sustainability in 2030. Brands and retailers will know exactly how many items to produce and eliminate overproduction in the process. The energy and money required for storage and transport will have also declined with surplus kept in check.

Instead of throwing away or destroying unsellable garments, brands and retailers will team up with charitable organizations.

Consumers will continue to demand second-hand fashion, while brands and retailers will have practically eliminated plastics from shipping packages. Instead, compostable and recycled materials will be used to wrap garments, considerably reducing plastics reaching landfills.

Ref: Style


About the author

Luisa Gatward

Our Head of Operations, Luisa is responsible for the smooth running of all operations including marketing and partner relationships. Having started working for TheGivingMachine in 2010, she has seen our Charity grow and develop into what we have today.

Join us on social media

We value your privacy

We use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. 

Learn more about how we use cookies to enhance your browsing experience.