The science of late-night online shopping


Posted 26/09/2018


Napoleon once described the UK as “a nation of shopkeepers”. But while it’s true that we still value homegrown businesses, the way we shop is changing dramatically.


We’re turning away from the high street and embracing online retail – and as we’re doing so, we’re creating a new trend: shopping instead of snoozing. More of us are choosing to splash our cash than get our beauty sleep. In fact, late-night online shopping is so popular, it’s created what’s become known as the ‘vampire economy’.


Research by Barclays in 2016 found that once the clocks went back, we Brits spend an average of 2 hours 12 minutes browsing into the night. Compared to the summer months where people are spending 1 hour 30 minutes. The research found the most popular items people buy online at night, these included clothes, holidays and pizza.


Here at 247 Blinds, we wanted to conduct our own research to see what people were searching for during the 2018 British heatwave, and the time they were searching for particular items at. We’ve pulled data from Google to shed light on how and why people search for products late at night – and made some fascinating discoveries about the UK’s nocturnal spending habits.


What’s on the mind of late-night shoppers? Dresses, concerts and spa breaks, apparently

What are people buying when many of us are in the land of nod?


According to our research, between 10pm-6am, the top 5 late-night product searches are:


  • Dresses
  • Birthday cards
  • Calendars
  • Spa breaks
  • Concert tickets


Clearly the internet has made retail the industry that never sleeps.


The science of shopping: from Monday blues to Friday payday

Our research gave us some fascinating insights about how the motivations of late-night online shopper’s changes throughout the week. Here are some of the most popular product searches when we go to bed:


Monday: Many of us want to start the week with a new wardrobe – so it’s perhaps no surprise that most people search for ‘work clothes’ on a Monday. Equally, the dreariness of a return to work has people searching for a holiday – with ‘city breaks’ and ‘spa breaks’ hitting their highest search volume on Monday.


Tuesday: Most people search for ‘diaries’ on a Tuesday – the day when most of us are struggling to get a handle on the working week.


Wednesday: Hump Day is when many of us start thinking about the weekend. Wednesday is when people search for ‘dress’ and ‘going out dress’ the most often.


Thursday: With the weekend drawing nearer, we start feeling more motivated and inspired. ‘Gym clothes’ and ‘flights’ hit their peaks on this day.


Friday: With the Friday feeling in full swing, people want to finish off their week with renewed energy. Friday sees the most searches for ‘trainers’ and ‘festival tickets’. It’s a popular day for big-money purchases – probably because it’s the end of the week and we feel the need to treat ourselves. Plus, paydays usually fall on a Friday,


Saturday: The weekend offers us the chance to take care of home improvements. ‘Blackout blinds’ is a big search term here – especially in the summer months when they can effectively block light pollution and sound, helping you get a good lie-in.


Sunday: With the start of the working weekend beckoning for many of us, we again feel the urge to get away. ‘Holidays’ is the biggest search term on Sunday. ‘Mattress’ and ‘bed’ are also popular terms (Sunday’s the day of rest, after all).


3am is the peak time for online shopping at night

Shopping used to begin on a Saturday morning, sitting in heavy traffic en route to our favourite retail outlet. Few could have foreseen how easy it would be to make online purchases using smartphones, whenever and wherever we want.


Between the hours of 10pm and 6am, most online shoppers consider making purchases at 3.57am


While traditional late-night shopping on the high street ends around 9pm, it’s much later online.


3 tips to getting a better night’s sleep

Making a habit of shopping late at night isn’t healthy. Getting some sleep instead of surfing the web in the early hours can help you function better during the day and keep you calmer. Here are some ways to make sure you get a good night’s sleep:


  1. Switch off your phone. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode and your phone will only keep your brain activated. Consider doing another activity such as writing or reading.


  1. Block out the light. Light pollution is responsible for many nights of disturbed sleep. Blackout blinds are a great way to block out flickering lights from passing cars or streetlamps – and they can look stylish, too.


  1. Exercise daily. Being physically active during the day can make it easier for you to slip into deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. However, make sure you exercise well before you go to bed.
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