Online shopping deliveries topped the one billion mark in 2013, and will reach 1.35 billion by 2018, according to new research.
The growth highlights the growing dependence on the online marketplace to buy goods, both in the UK and in other countries across the globe.
According to Barclays’ Retail and Transport & Logistics banking sector teams, who commissioned the research, the increasing use of smartphones and tablets to order goods and the availability of many delivery options are behind the online boom.
Slightly more than one billion deliveries for products ordered online were delivered in 2013, while this figure is set to increase by 29% to 1.35 billion by 2018.
Growth across several major sectors
The majority of growth is set to occur in the clothing and footwear sectors, although the food and grocery markets are also set for rapid expansion.
More convenient and flexible approaches to the delivery of goods are encouraging people to order online.
The number of electrical goods delivered is expected to increase by 61% during the next four years, the highest growth levels recorded by any sector.
An increase in the use of subscriptions services for film and music downloads is expected to see the number of downloads decline from 160 million to 98 million in the same period.
This is hardly surprising given the availability of streaming services across a wide variety of online platforms, essentially providing a music service without the hassle.
Providing what customers want
Nearly seven in ten consumers want innovative approaches to delivery that ensure a rapid service according to Barclays, with options such as Sunday delivery one of the ideas mooted.
The online shopping marketplace is evolving and consumers still want low cost goods – a factor synonymous with shopping via the net.
Click and collect is just one example of an innovative new approach being used by retailers while a growing focus on online commerce could be needed to ensure the sector keeps its momentum.
Many leading supermarkets also offer a service that delivers to a customer’s door, meaning they can purchase their household essentials without having to leave their homes.
Prepaid purchase options
Purchasing goods online can be done very easily with the use of a prepaid card, while the functions of the card mean that only the funds on it can be spent.
This is great news for those trying to budget or juggle their finances, while the lack of a credit facility prevents anyone from racking up debts.
Cards can also be used in retail outlets on the high street and for withdrawing money from ATMs, providing plenty of options for customers.
Additional security measures such as Chip and PIN can also be placed on the card to provide additional security for those fearing fraud.