LONDON: Despite the wide range of e-commerce options available to UK shoppers, general merchandise retailers still attract the majority of their custom, a new report has revealed.

According to research by SimilarWeb, a digital insights firm, the top ten general merchandise websites attract nearly two-thirds of all online visits in the UK, Retail Gazette reported.

Furthermore, overall traffic to these general merchandise sites grew 2% on a year ago, based on monthly figures, suggesting that consumers still prefer the convenience of one-stop shopping.

With 333m monthly visits to its site, online auction site eBay received the most traffic in the UK, followed by e-commerce giant Amazon, which got 331m visits from British shoppers across all of its sites.

High street retailer Argos followed with 59m visits, while AliExpress, the online marketplace owned by Chinese retailer Alibaba, received 16.6m visits – the same as department store John Lewis.

"In the UK, consumers gravitate towards sites selling the widest range of products and which have extremely high brand awareness," said Pavel Tuchinsky, Digital Insights Manager at SimilarWeb. "These sites are outpacing more niche sectors for consistent growth."

According to official statistics released last week, the volume of UK retail sales rose 4.3% year-on-year in April while the value of online sales increased 9.3% over the same period.

And in a further indication of changing consumer habits, separate research has shown that cash was used for less than half (45.1%) of transactions in 2015.

Payments UK, the trade association for the payments industry, also predicted that notes and coins will be used in just a quarter (27%) of transactions by 2025.

It said the tipping point for the most popular payment will be reached in 2021 when 14.5bn debit car payments are expected to be made, overtaking the forecast 13bn cash payments for the first time.

Data sourced from Retail Gazette, ONS, Payments UK; additional content by Warc staff