Over Half Of UK Shoppers Now Regularly Using Digital Wallets

Skrill survey finds major generational gap in paying habits, with younger consumers more likely to embrace new technology

Digital wallets have enjoyed a major surge in popularity and are now used by more than half of all UK online shoppers whenever they purchase goods online, a new study has found.

Research by payments specialists Skrill found that 54 percent of UK consumers said they often or always used digital wallets such as PayPal, Google Wallet, or Square, to shop and pay for goods online.

Unsurprisingly, younger shoppers were at the forefront of the technology, with more than one in ten 18-24 year olds (14 percent) now using digital wallets for every purchase they make online.

However, a generational gap is forming with over a third (37 percent) of those aged 55 and above admitting to never having used a digital wallet to pay for goods and services online. The survey of 2,000 British shoppers found that just four percent had never bought a product or service online.

digital wallet online shoppingGoing mobile

The influence of technology is also being felt on the high street, the survey found, with one in five (17 percent) of 18-24 year olds saying that they pay for goods or services in-store with a mobile device, contactless reader, text service or a sensor that determines their location via their phone. This compared to only 2 percent of people aged 55 and over, and suggests that retailers need to open up to embrace the new forms of retail technology.

“Payment behaviour is one of the fastest changing trends in business today,” said Chantal Willis, Skrill’s VP eCommerce. “The challenge for businesses, whether online or on the high street, is catering for contrasting segments of the market.”

“While high street stores generally stick to tried and tested payment methods, online businesses have begun to embrace emerging payment methods to make sure they are not missing out on crucial sales.”

Skrill’s payment network offers businesses access to direct payment processing via 100 payment options in 200 countries and territories and 40 currencies. The company currently boasts over 36 million customers across the world, including over 156,000 businesses.

The company’s findings match similar results from Worldpay earlier this year which predicted that alternative payment methods such as e-wallets will be more popular online than credit and debit cards by 2017.

Further research by analyst firm Juniper Research found that more than 1.6 billion payments across the world were completed using a smartphone or tablet this year, thanks to a surge in consumers using the devices for banking, money transfer and online shopping services.

This figure is set to continue growing over the next few years as consumer use continues to rise, before topping the two billion transactions a year mark by 2017.

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