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The Brief
Updated: 16 Jul 2015

Commuter Commerce Now Officially Big Business

Spending on commutes now accounts for £9.3bn ($14.47bn USD) yearly.

New data released by British payment platform Zapp (see our 2015 coverage of Retail Business Technology Expo for details) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) in London reveals that more than a fifth of all UK online shopping sales now take place during consumers’ daily commutes.

Spending on commutes now accounts for £9.3bn ($14.47bn USD) yearly, with consumers spending on average £36 ($56 USD) a week, rising to £44 ($68 USD) a week for commuters travelling through London. The peak morning rush (between 7am to 9am) sees the greatest surge in buying, when 1.5 million consumers are estimated to view and complete purchases.

Spending on clothing tops the list; with 71% of those spending reporting purchasing fashion during their average weekly commute, while entertainment, in the form of digital downloads (68%) and physical media including books, DVDs and CDs (65%) follow as the second and third most popular items. Groceries (62%) and takeaway meals (60%) are also popular. 

“People in Britain spend more online per head than any other nation, and it seems our love affair with online shopping now also extends to the morning rush hour. The data shows that commuter commerce is booming in the UK as savvy commuters use their time efficiently to make the purchases they just don’t have time for normally,” Rob Harbron, managing economist at CEBR commented on the results.

With convenience marked as a leading factor, as well as a ‘way to pass the time’, the trend for purchasing en-route continues shows itself as lucrative retail opportunity. For more on how brands and businesses can tap into the in-transit consumer economy, see our report Commuter Commerce, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend and Virtual Stores and Media Facades, part of our Anywhere Retailing series.

For more on creating streamlined small-screen retail experiences, including those dedicated to consumers on the move, see Tap to Transact: No-Fuss Purchasing in The Streamlined Sell, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.

For more on how brands are offering extended experiences that allow brands and consumers to dip in and out of retail as they please, acknowledging the new consumer predilection for hoarding, sharing and wish-listing on route to purchase see Start-Pause-Go: Retail in Hyper-Flow (also part of Roaming Retail), and Future Innovations in our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend. 

Extending the theme, see also Packaging Futures: In-Transit and Double-Duty Packaging, both of which explore key packaging innovations designed to ease the lives of busy, constantly on-the-go modern consumers. 

VIEW ALL Reports