‘Brits’ no longer need to fear the dreaded Christmas jumper present from Grandma this year as latest research reveals that British seniors have a world of choice at their fingertips. They are now among the most tech-savvy consumers in the world, with 78 per cent of internet users over 65 currently shopping online.

The report, which was conducted by global retail property experts, Colliers International, also demonstrates that the largest European e-commerce market is found in the UK with online sales currently running at around at £130bn ($160bn) annually. Meaning this year’s Christmas gifts are only a click away for many of us.

However, the research shows that if the British have wholeheartedly embraced online retailing, other countries have been slower to move their shopping online and while online shopping is growing rapidly, the way that people purchase and pay for their goods around the world remains very diverse. Italians are among the least tech-savvy shoppers in Western Europe as only 68 per cent have access to the internet and just 26 per cent are shopping online.

Paul Souber, Colliers’ Head of EMEA Retail, comments: “In a globalised age, it can be natural to think that shopping is becoming an increasingly homogenised process. However, as this study shows, the ways in which people shop and pay for their shopping remains very diverse – and often surprising.

“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 fulfilment of online orders.”

The report also looks at how shoppers pay for the purchases around the world.

Cash remains the predominant method of paying for shopping, particularly in China, Russia, Spain, Germany, Poland and Italy. French shoppers use more cheques than any other European nation while consumers in the Netherlands and Sweden are heading slowly towards cashless society.  They also favour more technological platforms such as the iDEAL online service and Swish; a Swedish app that was initially developed to help friends split the payment of restaurant bills and now it is used by more than 50 per cent of Swedes.

The share of cross-border transactions in online retail is increasing rapidly, as shoppers gradually feel more confident about shopping on foreign websites; retailers are accepting different payment methods to boost their turnover growth and are willing to deliver items to almost every part of the globe. The UK, US, China and Germany are the biggest online export markets globally. By 2020, 45 per cent of online shoppers will buy from other countries. The value of cross-border sales is expected to increase from US$230 billion in 2014 to US$1 trillion by 2020.”