UK consumers are demonstrating a shared enthusiasm for touch and go-payments in supermarkets, which have rocketed 136% over the last twelve months with over 60s noted as having the highest overall usage.

“Silver spenders” is the term coined for Britain’s over 60s who use touch and go-payment that are contactless and without the requirement of a PIN number-they are the age group with the highest usage for the second year running, with spending up by 64% year-on-year. London remains the centre for contactless payments in the UK, with Scotland also witnessing a massive rise in areas like Orkney experiencing the highest annual increase at 281%.

The UKCA-UK Cards Association, the body behind the figures, announced that contactless payments accounted for £25 billion of spending and an 116% increase during 2016, compared to £7.75 billion in 2015. All major supermarkets adopted the technology following the roll-out by Sainsbury’s late last year.

UKCA’s data is supported by Barclaycard which released its latest Contactless Spending Index revealing supermarket shoppers use ‘touch and go’ more frequently with purchases up to the value of £30, shaving seven seconds per transaction as opposed to its Chip and PIN predecessor.  The next highest increase is among 50-64 year olds, who have upped their usage by 60%, followed by 35-49-year olds (45%), 25-34-year olds (30%) and 18-24-year olds (23%).

Supermarkets are not the only ones to benefit from contactless payments. Other sectors to have seen a steep year-on-year rise in contactless payments such as service stations, (218 %), department stores (147%), discount stores (120%), hotels and motels (100%) and convenience stores (87%).

Scotland has witnessed a massive leap in contactless payments with areas north of the border dominating four of the top five spots. Orkney has seen the highest annual increase, followed by the Shetland Isles (239%) Dumfries (231%) and Kilmarnock (202%).

Tami Hargreaves, Commercial Director, Digital Consumer Payments at Barclaycard, says: “The days of the weekly food shop are gone for many Brits. While a couple of hours spent browsing store aisles will always be preferred by some, there is a clear shift towards speed and convenience, coupled with several ‘top-up’ shops through-out the week. This change in consumer behaviour lends itself to the sharp increase in ‘touch and go’ we’re seeing in the supermarket sector.

“As grocery buying habits continue to evolve, supermarkets have an opportunity to make the payments process quicker and easier too. We all remember the days when tills were reserved for five items or less to reduce queuing times; in the future, we may see contactless fast lanes or contactless-only check-outs in stores to speed up the payment process for time-pressed shoppers.”

By Clare Ruel

by IBS Intelligence