UK is biggest internet shopping player

Figures released recently by Ofcom, the communications industry watchdog, show that the UK now leads the rest of Europe when it comes to shopping on the Internet; a habit that is encouraged by our widespread ownership of smartphones, thus allowing true shopaholics to make their purchases at any time of the day or night.

In the space of around 18 months, the number of people with iPhones or similar models has increased twofold, corresponding with a rise in online shopping purchases in Britain. Nearly half of all mobile phone owners in the country now possess a smartphone, with 80% of those having used their handsets to buy goods and services online. The UK clearly leads the rest of Europe when it comes to browsing shopping sites on the Internet, with Britons spending an average of an hour and a half each week looking at retail websites.

While the advantages of online shopping are obvious, consumer experts are concerned that smartphone users are becoming relaxed about security issues, in particular credit and debit card fraud. Shoppers should always make sure they use reputable shopping sites which offer secure methods of payment to avoid having their details stolen.

The National Fraud Authority warns that this is a problem which is on the increase, with almost 40% of those who have used online shopping sites being a victim of some kind of fraud. Michael Phillips, one of the directors at  Broadbandchoices.co.uk, added that criminals are always particularly active around the festive period, when the number of online purchases increases dramatically and shoppers are less likely to be vigilant about checking the security of the shopping sites they use.