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More than half of over-65s are now shopping online

More than half of UK adults aged 65 and over are now shopping online, according to new figures.

The percentage of older people ordering items from the web shot up to 54% over the past year, which the Office For National Statistics (ONS) said was the first time it had gone above 50%.

Across all adults, more than four in five (82%) bought goods or services online, up 5% on the previous 12 months, with many spending hundreds of pounds across the year.

Image: Companies like Amazon will have benefited from an increase in the number of people buying items online

Some 44% have spent between £100 and £499 in the last three months, with 15% spending more than £1,000.

The most popular items remained clothes and sportswear, bought by 60% of online shoppers, followed by household products at 49% and event tickets at 44%.


More women bought clothes and sportswear than men, at 64% compared to 56%, with men spending more money on electronic equipment (42% to 26%) and entertainment products like video games (34% to 17%).

The growth in online shopping reflects an increase in the number of UK adults using the internet – and how regularly people are logging on.

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According to the ONS, 87% of all adults used the internet daily or almost every day over the last year – up by more than a third in the last decade.

More than eight in 10 (84%) also used the web on the go, by using a smartphone, tablet or other handheld device.

High Street shops try to entice customers with Summer sales as takings drop on June 29, 2011 in Liverpool, England
Image: The figures will make for more grim reading for high street retailers

The latest ONS figures on how UK adults are using the internet were released just hours after similarly grim numbers for high street retailers were released by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard.

According to their report, more than one in 10 stores were left empty in July – the highest since January 2015.

It also said the number of shoppers fell by 1.9% last month, marking the worst decline for July since 2012.

Restructuring and bankruptcies have hit a number retailers in recent times as they struggle to compete with online rivals, with towns such as Doncaster in South Yorkshire seeing one in five shops sitting empty.

British high streets lost a record net 2,481 shops in 2018, following years of decline.

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