difficult not to be awed by the phenomenal growth of e-commerce in the UK.
According to Statista the UK’s e-commerce market was
the third biggest in the world in 2016. A 2017 UK government report estimated
the total amount of e-commerce sales in the country at 586 billion GBP.
During the same year, the total value of B2B e-commerce sales, i.e. sales that
took place via a website, reached 133.6 billion GBP. To see this in
perspective: it means that e-commerce represented 16.5 per cent of all business
turnover in the UK during 2017.
By next year (2021) it is expected that around 93 per cent of British internet
users will do online shopping. This will be the highest penetration rate for
online shopping anywhere in Europe.
Now let’s move to 2019. According to E-marketer retail sales growth was
relatively sluggish last year amid an increasingly challenging retail
environment and Brexit concerns.
Total retail sales for 2019 was around $635.46 billion (476.65 billion GBP)
last year. Physical retail is having a particularly hard time, with
non-ecommerce sales growing by only 0.4 per cent. E-commerce sales, on the
other hand, grew around 10.9 per cent and at $141.93 billion (106.46 billion
GBP) amounted to 22.3 per cent of all retail sales.
THE MIGHTY MOBILE
How will these e-commerce sales be generated? The answer should not surprise
many readers. With mobile phones having become part of British life, no less
than 58.9 per cent of m-commerce sales will be generated via smartphones.
Within the next three years, that percentage is expected to grow to 71.2 per
A THREAT OR AN OPPORTUNITY TO PHYSICAL RETAIL STORES?
With physical retail stores having to deal with growth rates that are slowing
down steadily, and e-commerce taking an ever bigger share of the sales cake,
it’s only normal that some high street retailers should view the latter as an
Those retailers who have embraced this as a new opportunity have, however, been
very successful. An example is the click-and-collect system, which is becoming
increasingly popular. Another option that is slowly catching on is the cashier
less store, where smartphones play a very important role.
WHAT WILL 2020 BRING?
According to the VP of forecasting at eMarketer.com, Monica Peart, retail sales will
only grow by around 1.2 per cent this year, bringing the total to $649.66
billion (487.30 billion GBP). That will be the lowest percentage growth in five
E-commerce, on the other hand, is expected to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach a
new record of $152.33 billion (£114.26 billion). Another notable aspect is that
m-commerce sales, i.e. sales via smartphones and tablets, will for the first
time ever comprise about 50 per cent of all online sales.
Nobody wants to order a birthday gift online, only to have it delivered two
days after the event. Fortunately, there are a number of parcel delivery
services that offer next day delivery – a great option in today’s