LONDON: The problems facing UK high streets, such as parking difficulties and rising costs, have been exacerbated by e-commerce, and a new report finds that even older consumers are now routinely shopping online.

More than three quarters of UK adults have bought goods online in the past 12 months, according to a new report on internet access from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Among 16-34 year olds, 95% or more had done so, compared to just 48% of over 65s – but the latter age group has seen the greatest rate of increase in this activity over the past decade, up threefold from 16% in 2008.

“Online shopping may have been a young person’s game in the past, but now it’s mainstream among older generations,” noted Nick Carroll, a retail analyst research firm Mintel. “There is a lot less fear of problems like security, and it makes sense for older shoppers because of the delivery aspect,” he told the Telegraph.

“There has been an obvious impact on the high street from online shopping as people realise it is more convenient to shop from home, “ he added. “Convenience is really what's at the heart of it.”

Bricks-and-mortar retailers are also having to battle the rising costs of rent and rates, which one Bournemouth department store chief executive described to the Financial Times as a “ a spiral of doom” that is damaging the high street more than the shift to online shopping.

And they continue to pay significantly more in corporation tax and staff wages than Amazon, which was recently forced to defend a reduced tax bill even though profits increased.

The most popular online buys in the ONS survey were clothes or sports goods, bought by 55% of adults, followed by household goods (48% ) and holiday accommodation (42%).

Younger consumers were more likely to buy clothes or sports goods (74%) and tickets for events (51%), while the over-65s were purchasing household goods (25%), closely followed by clothes or sports goods and holiday accommodation (24% for both).

Sourced from Office for National Statistics, Telegraph, Financial Times, BBC; additional content by WARC staff