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Mobile Purchases to Account for a Third of UK Retail Ecommerce Sales

UK retail ecommerce sales to hit £60 billion this year

April 30, 2015 | Retail & Ecommerce

Purchases made via mobile devices will account for a rapidly growing share of UK retail ecommerce sales and are expected to contribute to strong growth this year, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates. In 2015, a third of all online sales in the UK will take place via smartphones and tablets; by 2019, that figure will rise to over 40%.

UK Retail Ecommerce Sales, 2013-2019 (billions of £, % change and % of total retail sales)

eMarketer estimates that UK retail ecommerce sales will rise 14.5% this year to reach £60.36 billion ($99.39 billion), driven by an improving economy, shoppers’ increasing usage of mobile devices for making purchases and expanded options for purchase delivery. Indeed, digital will be the main driver of overall retail sales growth, and as a consequence, its share of total retail sales will increase to 14.4% in 2015. This will place the UK atop the global rankings when it comes to ecommerce’s portion of total retail sales—No. 2 on the list will be China, with a 12.0% share, while the US will be well back at 7.1%.

Meanwhile, the growth trajectory for mcommerce sales is particularly steep, with a rise of 30.3% forecast this year. eMarketer predicts UK retail mcommerce sales will reach £19.92 billion ($32.80 billion) in 2015, and by 2019, that figure will climb to almost £37 billion ($60.93 billion).

UK Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2013-2019 (billions of £, % change and % of retail ecommerce sales)

“That mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the retail shopping habits of UK consumers is without question, be that via smartphone, phablet or tablet. What this demonstrates, though, is that digital shopping and buying long ago entered the mainstream for most UK consumers, and buying via mobile is just the next step. Indeed, device-agnostic buying, thanks to users’ familiarity with these various device types, is becoming the norm,” commented Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer.

Tablets are particularly significant for UK mcommerce sales growth. As more consumers have embraced these devices for lean-back browsing of potential purchases, retailers have made greater efforts to make sure their tablet retail sites and apps are particularly rich and responsive.

UK Retail Mcommerce Sales, by Device, 2013-2019 (billions of £, % change and % of total)

This year, eMarketer predicts, tablet retail mcommerce sales will hit £13.25 billion ($21.82 billion), or 66.5% of UK retail mcommerce sales overall. That’s up from 2013, when tablets took a 60.5% share of retail mcommerce sales.

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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