UK a step closer to becoming a cashless society


The UK is among the three most cashless countries in the world, research in the telegraph has revealed. Other European countries that made into the top 10 are Sweden, France and Germany.

British consumers are increasingly adopting different styles as primary payment methods instead of cash. In 2015, it was the first time that debit and credit card transactions surpassed 50% of total retail payments in the UK.

The news is even more exciting for e-commerce retailers as online sales keep rising. UK online retail sales broke records last year, hitting over £130bn, an increase of 16% from the previous year.

Mobiles payments keep penetrating the market quickly and are becoming one of the primary means of purchase for consumers. During the first half of this year, for example, mobile payment spending tripled, amounting £370 million. Quite naturally and similarly to the introduction of contactless cards in the market, Londoners are the ones leading the way to adopt new tendencies.

Worldpay says the UK will be the world’s third biggest market for e-commerce in 2021 – only behind China and the US, growing around 10% over the next five years.

“UK consumers are among the world’s earliest adopters of new technologies, including new payment methods, so retailers need to stay on top of technological and regulatory developments” says Dave Glaser from WorldPay.

It is important for merchants to understand who are their main online consumers in order to target them efficiently. It is not surprising that millennials dominate this scenario; and 67% of those born after 1980 say they prefer to purchase items online rather than in store.

Social media is growing sales and almost a quarter of consumers (23%) say they are influenced by social media recommendations when completing a purchase.

Some of the suggestions for merchants to improve their service and increase consumer satisfaction are:

  • Optimise transaction flow and consumer experience: Slow check out processes are a defining factor for consumers to decide to complete a purchase, so it is crucial to ensure it runs smoothly and quickly.
  • Maximise consumer security: UK consumers are highly security conscious and, if they do not feel confident inputting personal into a website, they might drop the purchase.
  • Adopt new payment technologies: Merchants do need to keep up with the fast moving cashless payment market. Mobile wallets, for example, are growing fast due to introduction of Apple, Samsung and Google Pay into smartphones. Facebook Messenger payment has just arrived to the UK and has been proving to be popular for payments such as renting and split bills.