Online consumer spending slows – but is it rising prices or could it be a trust issue?


Online spending has dipped for the first time in four years. A 0.1 per cent annual fall was recorded in April, according to figures from Visa. This marks the first dip in consumer online spending since 2013. As for overall figures, these showed an increase in spending, but only by 0.5 percent, which is the weakest pace of growth recorded in the consumer spending index since 2013.

When looking at the reasons behind the spending slowdown, it’s very easy to say that British households have been forced to tighten their belts in the face of rising prices and uninspiring wage growth. Consumer confidence is fragile and shoppers are fretting against a backdrop of general economic uncertainty.

However, it’s important to consider another element… Is trust becoming more important to consumers? In uncertain times, customers want to know that retailers will continue to deliver the same customer experience and value despite currency volatility.

Interestingly, “face-to-face” spending on the high street increased by 0.3 percent in April. 46% of people say that they need to see the product before purchasing, 28% of people prefer an in-store experience, and 25% of people are worried that the product they are viewing online may be fake. UK shoppers are clearly reluctant to buy luxury items online.

So, at a time where customers need some extra reassurance, how can retailers build trust?

  • Security – retailers ensure that their customers feel protected from cyber attacks.
  • Consistency – retailers deliver a high quality and consistent service during uncertain times
  • Transparency – retailers are open about their product quality, price and sourcing
  • Authenticity – retailers communicate to customers in a manner that is human, natural and honest

Look out for the article that we’ll be publishing this Thursday about Cyber Security……