UK Shoppers Spent £91bn Online in 2013

Data from IMRG Index suggests this figure will beat the £100 billion mark this year

Data released today showed that 2013 was the ‘year of the mobile’ for shoppers, as UK consumers spent £91bn online last year, a new record and an increase of 16 percent from 2012. Overall, online retail now accounts for 21 percent of the UK’s total retail market, with next year’s sales forecast to do even better as Britons increasingly conquer their fears and use their smartphones or tablets to shop online.

The results, taken from the 2013 IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, predict that 2014 is set to be the year when online sales push through the £100bn mark for the first time, forecasting a 17 percent growth rate for the market throughout 2014, meaning total sales should come in at around the £107bn mark. December 2013 was the most profitable month so far for retailers (surprise, surprise), with £11bn being spent online, up from £9bn in December 2012.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said of the results, “With online shopping having become part of our everyday lives, the growth levels we are seeing in the e-retail market won’t be slowing down any time soon. Shopping has become a leisurely activity for many of us and mobile devices have fundamentally altered the way that consumers engage with brands.”

texting smartphone SMS ©shutterstock B Calkins‘Year of the mobile’

The rise in shopping via mobile devices was named as the primary reason for the growth, with sales via mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) increasing 138 percent compared to 2012. During December 2013, 27 percent of all online transactions were recorded as coming from a mobile device, equating to £3 billion of sales, twice the amount spent the previous year. The report also estimated that so-called ‘m-retail’ would account for 30 percent of online sales during the first quarter of 2014.

According to the Index, 82 percent of mobile sales came from tablet devices. However, smartphones saw sales increase 186 percent in 2013, compared to an equally impressive 131 percent via tablet devices.

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology, Capgemini, said, “This performance has been fuelled by a variety of factors, not least the huge leaps in mobile technology, which has given a whole new section of society access to the internet and enabled the more tech savvy amongst us to shop while on the move.  Combined with greater choice of delivery and collection options, as well as improved retail trading, the e-retail sector has all the ingredients for ongoing success.”

These strong results were echoed by several of the retailers that were part of the Index, with John Lewis in particular recording that online shopping now made up 30 percent of the company’s overall sales, a 5 percent rise over the past year.

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