New Detail

Swipe Up Shopping: Social spending sweeps the nation


  • Making the swipe: Social media accounts for one in four online purchases
  • Here to stay: A fifth (17%) of Brits have Swiped Up to shop
  • Late night swipe: 13% have purchased an item after midnight

14 October 2020, London UK: New consumer research[1] commissioned by Visa has revealed a surge in social media shopping, with almost a fifth (17%) of Brits using social apps to shop and one in ten (11%) making a purchase this way since lockdown began in March.

Coined ‘Swipe Up Shopping’, the research revealed social media-fuelled purchases accounted for one in four (24%) online purchases in the past six months. Clothing and accessories are the most popular Swipe Up Shopping purchases (37%), followed by homeware (29%) and electronics (20%).

The survey of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by Opinium on behalf of Visa, revealed Swipe Up Shopping is likely to continue growing in popularity with over a third (36%) surveyed planning to continue purchasing this way in the future. Supporting independent businesses is also a key driver for Swipe Up Shoppers, with one in ten (11%) Brits having made a purchase from an independent company and 16% saying that social media enables them to better support small businesses.

Convenience is key

Being able to buy things with just a swipe and a click is key, with 35% of Swipe Up Shoppers surveyed saying they enjoy the convenience and over a quarter (26%) love the speed.

Swipe Up Smart

Although Swipe Up Shoppers love quick and convenient purchases, many of those involved in the survey admit to:

  1. Not always checking third party reviews of the website (57%)
  2. Not always checking refund and exchange policies before purchasing (54%)
  3. Buying whilst watching TV (27%)
  4. Buying something to make themselves feel better (13%)
  5. Purchasing something after midnight (13%)

Over half (58%) who engaged in this way of shopping said their purchases haven’t lived up to expectations and a further 38% are still chasing refunds or trying to return items. Just one in five (20%) say they have received a full refund via the method they paid, yet 88% claim they still remain out of pocket for at least one of their purchases.

Whilst shopping on social media is quick and convenient, shoppers should be mindful of buying safely. The latest data[2] from UK Finance reveals that the number of card-not-present fraud cases is on the rise. Scammers exploiting Covid-19 increasingly move fraud online, and social media platforms are high on hit lists.

To provide tips on how shoppers can Swipe Up safely and steer clear of purchase regret, Visa has teamed up with behavioural psychologist Emma Kenny.

Emma Kenny, commented: “The way our minds are built means that when something is so fast and convenient, it can be easy for us to throw caution to the wind and forget the usual precautions. Spend a few minutes before purchasing researching the website, influencer or company you are purchasing from to ensure it is legitimate. Then, if you do decide you love and want to purchase that item, use your Visa credit or debit card for comfort that your payment has protection if something were to go wrong with a purchase.”

Jeni Mundy, UK & Ireland Managing Director, Visa, commented: "Using your Visa debit or credit card to shop on social media offers a layer of protection in the event something goes wrong with a purchase, such as items failing to arrive and being unable to reach a resolution with the retailer. If this happens, you can contact your bank to ask them to pursue a chargeback claim on your behalf, whereby they may be able to reclaim your money from the retailer’s bank. Visa’s Zero Liability Policy also provides a separate guarantee that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorised payments made on your Visa card, to ensure you are not left out of pocket should you become a victim of fraud.”

To find out more about staying secure while Swipe Up Shopping online, visit the Visa blog.


[1] Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 2,000 nationally representative UK adults between 18th September 2020 and 22nd September 2020

[2] UK Finance Half Year Fraud Update, published September 2020

Notes to Editors:

Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Opinium with 2,000 nationally representative UK adults between 18 September 2020 and 22 September 2020.

[UK Finance data reference]

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaUK.

Media Contact:

Visa Press Office

020 7025 6690

[email protected]