UK Ecommerce Sales in 2017 Set to Grow by 14% with Smartphone Sales Growth

2016 was a good year for UK ecommerce with a surge of online sales made across the year and in the run-up to Christmas, largely fuelled by online sales made through smartphones, and this is set to continue into 2017.

The report from IMRG and Capgemini forecast that e-retail will see a further 14% growth, after 2016 already saw a huge amount of growth in the ecommerce space.

In 2016 alone, £133 billion was spent online just with UK retailers. That’s an £18 billion increase on the amount spent online in 2015. Online sales in 2016 were up by 16% compared to 2015.

This means that online sales in 2016 were up by 16% compared to 2015, exceeding the estimated forecast of 11% growth, and reversing the trend of declining growth rates over the previous couple of years.

Smartphone sales drive growth, which was up 47% year on year in December. Considering the fact that mobile sales accounted for 51% of UK ecommerce sales in November 2015 to January 2016, it shows that mobile ecommerce is set to continue to grow.

“In December, smartphones accounted for 54% of mobile device sales, with tablets accounting for the other 46%. This is a huge uplift on December 2015, when smartphones accounted for 39% of mobile device sales.”

£25 billion was spent online between 13th November and 24th December in the run up to Christmas.

As for sectors, accessories and lingerie faired best with online sales up 38% and 33% respectively. Gifts were up 26%, footwear up 21%, and all exceeding the index’s average growth rate. Health and beauty did, however, see online sales fall 3%.

Bhavesh Unadkat, Principal Consultant in Retail Customer Engagement Design, at Capgemini, had the following to say:

“2016 was a turbulent year with a number of predictions for retail and beyond going against the status quo. Regardless, it was still a record breaking year for online sales – up 16% on 2015. Few would have anticipated the decline in sales made on tablets, but with sales made through overall mobile devices generating over 50% of visits, combined with the sweeping growth of both visits and conversions from smartphones, mobile continues to head towards being the number one sales channel.

“2017 will be filled with a level of uncertainty depending on the progress and impact of Brexit, however with the investment retailers are making in improving the customer shopping experience, I am sure it will be another record breaking year for online sales.”

Justin Opie, the Managing Director at IMRG, had this to say:

“Following a below-expectation year in 2015, online sales growth has shot back up to an extent that seemed highly unlikely at the start of the year. There are two key factors driving this. The first is that Black Friday became an ‘online’ event in 2015, and this seems to have had a lasting effect on people’s shopping behaviour and preferences – our Index has recorded strong growth for online sales ever since that day. The second is that sales through smartphones are continuing to grow at a very strong rate, which is increasing the times and places in which people can browse and engage with online retailers.”

US Ecommerce Growth

In the US, it’s been reported that ecommerce accounted for 11.7% of retail sales throughout 2016, which is an increase of 15.6% over 2015.

These sales topped $394.9 billion in online sales. Amazon was responsible for driving 65.9% of ecommerce growth in the US throughout 2016, and for 27.4% of total retail sales growth.

“The total value of transactions from U.S. consumers on Amazon.com reached $147.0 billion last year, a 31.3% increase compared with $112.0 billion in 2015, according to Internet Retailer and ChannelAdvisor Corp. estimates.”

Overall, you can see that ecommerce is on the up on a global scale, and the UK is seeing particularly exceptional results. Shopping on smartphones is on the up, which means it’s essential to ensure your website is mobile-friendly, and provides the best possible mobile shopping experience for your customers.