Starling Bank: Online shopping at record-breaking levels but panic buying is over

By Aisling Finn on Tuesday 31 March 2020

Digital Banking

Following the Government lockdown, Starling’s customers have turned to online shopping to pass the time.

Starling Bank: Online shopping at record-breaking levels but panic buying is over
Image source: CEO and founder of Starling Bank, Anne Boden


A couple of weeks ago AltFi ran an exclusive data insight into how Starling’s customers were spending in their first few weeks at home. 

The data showed that spending on holidays dropped 13 per cent with the top merchants for holidays like Airbnb, British Airways,, easyJet and Ryanair seeing an 18 per cent decline in the average transaction value following the coronavirus outbreak.

Starling also reported grocery merchants receiving “spending levels were akin to those we typically observe at Christmas”.

Now, two weeks on, Starling customers’ online spending patterns have eclipsed records previously held by Christmas Day.

Online shopping hit 52.6 per cent of all transactions on 25 March 2020, the all-time record was previously set on Christmas Day 2019 where 52 per cent of transactions were online shopping as consumers flocked to get an early start on the Boxing Day sales.

Since last week the figures have steadily risen and a new record has been set as on Sunday 29 March 60.8 per cent of the bank’s total transactions were online purchases.

Normally, online purchase account for less than a third of the total number of transactions each day but had already reached 40.4 per cent the day before the Government lockdown (23 March 2020).

The data also suggest that shoppers have stopped panic buying, with the peak being on Saturday 14 March 2020 where the number of transactions was up by 15 per cent compared to pre-virus levels.

Shopping in supermarkets has now tailed off with the number of transactions now below levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic.

Starling also revealed that, according to its data, roughly 40 per cent of the UK had already stopped going to pubs and restaurants the weekend before the Government closed all non-essential businesses.

A spokesperson from Starling said: “These are early days, but it’s clear that people’s spending behaviour is already changing quite dramatically. The sharp rise in online shopping suggests that people are listening to the government and staying indoors.”

Despite this coming from just one bank, it could be indicative of the rest of the UK as most of us transition self-isolation and working from home.

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