Europe’s most profitable e-commerce marketWith boasts of the most lucrative e-commerce market across the continent as well as one of the largest globally, it’s a given that the UK’s retail sector also leads the way in Europe. In retail alone, online sales constituted 26.5 percent of overall retail sales in the country in 2022, over double the amount from exactly one decade prior. Resultant of the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020, internet retail sales grew by 47 percent, the fastest rate recorded in the previous ten years. In contrast to such steep growth that was case-specific to the pandemic, the UK’s e-commerce retail sales value decreased by nearly 10 percent in 2022 compared to the year prior, a likely result of inflation and other global current events. Despite this decrease, the revenue of e-commerce in the UK is still expected to steadily grow in the coming years across all segments.
Online retailing is particularly strong in the fashion segment, which currently does and is also expected to amass the most revenue each year by 2027. The most recent government figures also show that over one-fourth of retail sales from textile, clothing, and footwear stores come from online channels. Consumer electronics was the next highest grossing category in terms of revenue, with Amazon at the forefront of the leading online consumer electronics stores in the UK.
Shopping habits in the UKWhen it comes to devices, UK consumers have developed a strong preference for using theirmobile phones to make online purchases. In 2023, smartphones held the majority share of both online retail traffic and orders. Among tablets, desktops, and smartphones, tablets were used the least of the three for online shopping. Despite this m-commerce lean, consumers still tend to spend more per order when they shop on their computers. In 2022, the average order value among online purchases was still the highest on desktop devices, with UK shoppers spending an average of 126 U.S. dollars on desktops in comparison to 102 dollars on tablets and 86 dollars on mobile phones.
According to a 2022 survey, the ability to pay cash upon delivery was reported by a total 96 percent of UK consumers as an important driving factor for them to shop online, while free returns and free delivery options were attributes that were regarded as less essential. Additionally, 93 percent considered having environmentally friendly delivery alternatives to be an important quality of online shopping. However, when it comes to sustainable retail, UK online shoppers seem to focus more on the products themselves having less or recycled packaging and sustainable characteristics, rather than the delivery methods.