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August 3, 2017

Cashless society: UK shoppers are starting to avoid retailers that make them pay cash

UK consumers are becoming more inclined to swap cash for card and it’s beginning to affect where they shop.

According to research from shopping app Ubamarket, 20 percent of adults say they consciously avoid shops, restaurants, newsagents, cafes or bars that only accept cash.

Ubamarket spoke to nearly 2,000 UK adults about into their shopping habits for the survey and it found that smartphone-wallets are growing, with over a third of millennials choosing to use apps to pay for products.

Nearly half of respondents, around 41 percent, believe that all payments will be processed via mobile devices like smartphones and smartwatches in the future.

Will Broome, chief executive of Ubamarket, said:

“Frustrating out-dated payment systems remain a significant challenge that are ruining millions of shopping trips and therefore must be addressed. Despite the rise of online shopping, it is clear that retailers need to invest in the ins-store shopping experience to maintain shoppers’ loyalty in today’s competitive market.”

If anything, it’s surprising that retailers are still relying so much on cash nowadays.

There has recently been an upsurge in new payment methods — for instance, the UK trade association UK Finance, recently published its figures on contactless payment, saying that more than a third of all payments are now contactless in the UK.

A total of £4.5bn was spent using contactless cards in May this year, compared to £3.9bn in April.

As well, companies such as Jack Dorsey’s Square are benefiting from the growth in card payments in stores.

Square, a payments company for small businesses, reported its results this week and smashed analysts’ expectations. Its adjusted revenue rose 41 percent to $240m, up from analyst estimates of $229.5m, according to Bloomberg.

Despite setting out to help small retailers and food trucks offer card payments, Square has managed to attract larger sellers, those that process at least $125,000 in gross payments annually, which has helped the startup to grow.

Earlier this year, Square announced it was turning its focus on growing in the UK. It estimates that around half of the country’s 5.4m small business do not yet accept card transactions and it wants to take advantage of this.

Other startups, like social payments app Circle, are also capitalising on this move to a cashless society.

It is interesting to see consumers so keen on paying for products with their devices. Earlier this year, Apple said its smartphone wallet, Apple Pay, now has 1m weekly users of the payments platform worldwide.

However, research by GlobalData shows that people aren’t that keen using their smartphones to pay for goods, with 58 percent saying they would feel uncomfortable doing so.

This could be down to a generational gap, however, as those 35 and over were more likely to not want to use their smartphone to make purchases.

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed cross border deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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