Superfast broadband will boost retailers’ online sales by as much as £740m a year once the rollout across the UK is complete, according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
British shoppers with superfast internet spend an average of 3.1%, or £23, a year more than those on slower connections, the research, which was commissioned by Royal Mail, found.
The government’s rollout of faster broadband has now reached more than a million homes and businesses across the UK.
This has led to an annual increase in spending of £225m so far, and could rise by a further £515m once the rollout reaches its final target of between 90% and 95% of the population by 2017.
However, the impact varies across Britain with shoppers in Scotland and Wales having increased their spending the most since receiving superfast broadband, by 5.1% and 4.4% respectively. The southwest of England experienced the lowest average increase, at 1.4%.
Separate data released last week by the Office for National Statistics showed three in four adults (74%) in the UK now shop online, up from 53% in 2008, with clothing and sports goods the most common purchases.
About 22 million households (84%) have internet access, up from 57% in 2006. Access to the internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
This Monday (August 11) marked the 20th anniversary of what is widely regarded as the first secure online purchase of an item online: the Ten Summoner’s Tales album by Sting.