CANNES, France – Forget Millennials: British seniors are among the most tech-savvy consumers in the world.
A new study by property firm Colliers International found that 78 percent of Brits over 65 who use the Internet also shop online, headlining that the U.K. population is the most advanced European country when it comes to e-commerce, with online sales estimated at $160 billion.
By contrast, only 68 percent of Italians have access to the World Wide Web and only 26 percent are shopping online, according to the study, released in tandem with the opening of the MAPIC real estate show here.
Colliers described Germany, Spain and Poland as the fastest growing online markets in Europe.
U.K. shoppers were enthusiastic users of mobile devices, which accounted for 29 percent of online sales last year. They are also prone to frequent international sites, with 56 percent of online users having purchased items from sites in China or the U.S.
By contrast, shoppers in Poland, Russia and Italy were less prone to use mobile devices to make purchases. Roughly a quarter of Russian online sales come from cross-border retailers, 80 percent of them Chinese, Colliers found.
The study also found that cash remains the main payment method for shopping, particularly in China, Russia, Spain, Germany, Poland and Italy.
The French use cheques more than any other European nation while consumers in the Netherlands and Sweden are heading slowly towards a cashless society. An estimated half of Swedes use Swish, an app initially developed to help friends split restaurant bills and now used by more than half of the population.
“The ways in which people shop and pay for their shopping remains very diverse – and often surprising,” said Paul Souber, head of EMEA retail at Colliers. “These patterns have important ramifications for retailers and also for the developers and owners of shopping space. While online retailing has undoubtedly curtailed some retailers’ appetite for expanding their store networks, it can also generate demand for property as what were once purely online brands open physical stores and where logistics facilities are needed to support the fulfillment of online orders.”