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UK Ecommerce Sales Growth Healthy in 2016

But will it stay healthy?

January 20, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

B2C ecommerce sales in the UK grew by almost 16% in 2016, according to a January 2017 Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and Capgemini report. That's among the highest growth rates there in the last five years.

UK B2C Ecommerce Sales Growth, 2009-2016 (% change)

While 2013 saw the highest growth rate in the past five years—16.5% ecommerce sales growth—more recent years saw a steady decrease. In 2014, ecommerce grew by 14%, while in 2015 sales grew by just 10.6%. The higher figure in 2016 might indicate a growing economy, or it might simply indicate that people are shopping online more but in person less, without really buying more overall.

What's more, even if these figures do indicate a general uptick sales, Brexit could well puncture consume confidence and halt growth.

In total, UK ecommerce sales grew from £115 billion ($175.74 billion) in 2015 to £133 billion ($203.26 billion) in 2016.

Generally, the UK has a very strong ecommerce economy in relation to other countries in Europe. For an historical reference, according to a May 2016 Ecommerce Foundation (formerly Ecommerce Europe) report, 30% of total sales in the UK were ecommerce in 2014, almost twice that of the proportion of ecommerce in Germany. By 2015, that figure for the UK had jumped to 34.5%, over 20% more than that year's closest competitor, France.

—Ben Clague

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