- Households in Scotland have spent an extra £1,623 online over the past year as almost a third (30%) Scots admit to making ‘splurge spending’ decisions
- Two thirds (63%) say their internet usage has increased since the coronavirus outbreak
- But despite the increase in online spending, six in ten (59%) people in Scotland say they have focused on paying off debts during the past year
PEOPLE in Scotland have, on average, spent an additional £1,623 each on online shopping in the past year, the latest Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index has revealed.
Almost a third (30%) of people in Scotland said the Covid-19 pandemic had made them more likely to make purchases without thinking about future implications, with residents making, on average, 30 more online transactions in the past twelve months.
The extra online spending comes as more people turn to the internet for goods and services in lieu of visiting the high street. Almost two thirds (63%) of people across Scotland report to having increased their internet usage, with more than nine in ten (94%) anticipating that their new habits will continue in the long-term.
But despite the uptake in time spent online, 5% of people across Scotland are still offline, having not used a desktop, laptop, mobile or tablet in the last three months.
Philip Grant, Chair of Lloyds Banking Group’s Scottish Executive Committee, said: “For a lot of people lockdown has resulted in spending more time and money online. For some, this transition has been quite simple and they’ve unlocked some great benefits from using digital like managing their finances, boosting their mental wellbeing and keeping in touch with friends and family. A huge 88% say that being online has helped them to keep connected to people they don’t live with, and more than half say they wouldn’t have coped without it.
“But for some of those who lack digital skills or access to technology, it’s been extremely challenging. We still have people across Scotland not using the internet at all so it’s vital we help everyone to access online services and do so safely.
“To help, we’re offering free digital skills training through our Academy to help people access online services. We also have 20,000 regional digital champions on hand as we work to make sure everyone feels more comfortable using the internet and can reap the benefits both financially and socially.”
Despite the rise in online shopping, the pandemic has made many more people across Scotland careful with their finances overall. More than half (59%) say the experience of the pandemic has changed their priorities and they are now more focused on being debt free.
In line with the growth of online banking*, nine in ten (91%) now manage their money online and almost half (47%) feel more in control of their day-to-day finances now than they were a year ago.
The research also found that half (48%) of Scottish residents think the steps they have taken to manage their finances in the last year mean they can now enjoy their lives more. However, many are still feeling the pressure on their household finances, with almost a quarter (24%) saying they feel stressed or overwhelmed by their financial situation.
Philip continued: “Everyone has a different experience of the pandemic. For some, going out less has meant they’ve saved more, but for others, there has been extreme pressure on their finances.
“We’re already helping customers who get into financial difficulty back to financial health, as well as those looking to manage their savings. As part of our commitment to helping Britain recover, we have more than 6,500 colleagues trained to support customers in building their financial resilience. In addition, our Academy is actively helping people become more financially resilient by giving them the skills to be more in control of their money.”
Fife-based Shauna, 27, is an area manager for The Body Shop at home and runs her own small business selling beauty products. She is now using her digital skills to enhance her business and connect with her team.
Shauna said: “I’ve always been quite good with the internet, but I’m probably quicker at doing things than I was before. I make a lot of my own images and I’m getting better and quicker at editing them.
“I had to improve my skills to run the business. Before Covid, the small team I had would meet up or come round for a coffee but now we use Zoom which was interesting to learn. We also learned how to use Facebook Rooms.”
Shauna praises digital platforms for enabling her to work from home on her own terms and at her own pace, which has helped her grow her business across the region.
She added: “It’s given me confidence. I’m speaking to so many people online and I’m quite highly recognised across our region now, so I’d say digital has definitely helped me.”