Consumers are most likely to reach for their credit or debit card to pay for items, seeing cash as a back-up option.
Only 31 per cent of people said using notes and coins was their preferred payment method, with 41 per cent saying they would choose to use a card if they could, according to the Payments Council.
The main time that people prefer to use cash is when they are buying low-value items, with 77 per cent still opting for notes and coins for purchases of less than £3.
But the group, which commissioned the research to mark the 40th anniversary of the switch to decimalisation, said the use of cash was likely to decline further, as new payment methods such as contactless payment cards and mobile phone payments, reduced its appeal even for small purchases.
Sandra Quinn, director of communications at the Payments Council, said: “Since decimalisation, the debit card has overtaken cash as something we are loathe to leave home without, and we’ve now arrived at the point where one in three people prefer to shop online rather than in person.
“However, cash is still king for the small things, with 61 per cent of people preferring to pay for low-value items with coins.”