It revealed substantial growth in some key business sectors, with as many as four out of ten people now more active online than they were five years ago. Retail has seen the biggest online increase, particularly in clothes, homeware and beauty products, with 38% more customers buying such goods over the net than half a decade ago. Grocery shopping is the next digital winner, with just over a third more people now purchasing more online.
A third more people also now pay their bills online and nearly one-in-three book their holidays without passing through a travel agent's door. Almost one-in-five make doctor’s appointments and buy their prescriptions online compared to the previous five years.
“We’ve known for some time that companies have been facing something of a digital revolution but this research shows just how much doing business online is becoming the norm and it’s commercial suicide if you’re not up to speed,” said Daniel Mitchell, Lifeline IT co-founder and Director. Overwhelmingly, over half of those surveyed prefer completing tasks online, saying that they found it a lot quicker to get things done.
Just short of a quarter said they preferred speaking to real people than going online, but less than one-in-ten said they didn’t trust buying or doing other activities virtually. Both sexes are equally at home in the virtual world with 58% of women and 56% of men finding the online landscape quicker and easier to get things done.
Silver surfers are on the crest of the online wave with over two thirds of over 55-year-olds preferring to do their shopping and other activities on the web.
And when it comes to regional variations, shoppers in Northern Ireland are catching up digitally with more than half (57%) now doing their grocery shopping online than did five years ago.
It all goes to show how vital it is that your company maintains an online presence. As such, businesses are increasingly turning to companies such as Lifeline IT to outsource their IT needs. Lifeline IT manages, sets up and develops IT systems for businesses across a variety of different sectors, including accountancy and finance, retail and property.