Britons spend millions of pounds buying items they don’t need online, new research from online solutions company Fasthosts has found. Worse yet, many items purchased on impulse are not returned, even if they are unwanted. The result? The UK wastes Â£ 33.5million a year on junk parcels.
Here are the facts behind the numbers and six steps to help you control your spending.
The rise of online shopping
Online shopping has increased dramatically during the pandemic. According to Statista data, in March 2020, 40% of Britons said they were buying more online than before the lockdowns.
In February 2021, 75% of Britons fell in love with online shopping. “Our research has shown that consumers’ buying habits will be focused on online retailers, with almost half preferring to shop online rather than in person,” says Michelle Stark, director of sales and marketing at Fasthosts.
The problem with that? It’s easy to get a little too excited about shopping online and end up with things you don’t really need, clothes that don’t fit, or items you regret buying. And if you don’t return or exchange those unwanted or unnecessary items, you’ll end up wasting a lot of money.
Brits waste a lot of money shopping online
Most Britons – 53.8% to be exact, according to Fasthosts – agree that shopping online is “a little too easy” and that it leads to overspending. In addition, two in five Britons admit to buying things they don’t need when shopping online. Add to this that over 77% of people find that returning unwanted packages is time consuming and inconvenient.
As a result, the average Briton wastes over Â£ 616 a year on unnecessary items. And some cities are particularly “good” at it. Newcastle residents waste more than Â£ 1,200 a year on unwanted items they buy online. Liverpool, London and Sheffield waste more than Â£ 700 a year on junk products bought online.
6 steps to curb the urge to shop online
According to UK Rehab, up to 11% of young adults and adults in Europe suffer from some shopping addiction. Online shopping can fuel this addiction, as it’s easy to spend anytime and anywhere just using your phone. To avoid overspending, it makes sense to have a plan before you start visiting your favorite virtual stores.
- Be aware of why you are shopping – it is a good first step in helping you to break the habit. You can do this by being present and not shopping on the go. When shopping online, take the time to review your potential purchases before paying anything.
- Use online shopping to save time and money. Don’t shop online to deal with boredom or emotional issues. Instead, do something else, like take a bath, read a book, or take your dog for a long walk.
- Give yourself a purchase compensation. You can make this a monthly allowance so you can spend it all at once on something bigger if that’s what you want.
- Unsubscribe from retailer mailing lists to avoid the temptation if the urge to keep shopping gets too strong.
- Always sleep on larger purchases. Add an item to your cart but don’t commit to buying it until the next day. This will give you some time to cool off and allow you to research the best deal or other options.
- Focus on a longer-term financial goal to limit impulse spending. It will be easier to focus on saving rather than spending if you have a big savings goal, like buying a home or taking the trip of your dreams.
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