UK Report: Mobile Devices Dominate eCommerce Sales

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4:13 PM EDT June 21st, 2013

British consumers are obsessed with technical gadgets. This is no exaggeration, as they are commonly listed as the world’s leading country when it comes to spending time on the Internet and using mobile devices.

A new eMarketer report, which highlights the country’s high online shopping and penetration rates, certifies the British consumers’ attachment to mobile technology. Not only is the UK the leading economy in the world for online shopping, but it leads across all digital channels, including mobile phones and tablets.

Stats Don’t Lie

The report proves that shopping through mobile devices is a large reason why retail eCommerce sales in the UK are soaring. In 2012, digital commerce accounted for 10.2 percent of all retail sales, which has already increased to 11.5 percent earlier this year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 32 million British consumers (66 percent of all adults) brought products or services on the web in 2011. This was a jump from the 62 percent in 2010.

Overall, eCommerce sales in the UK make up more than 11 percent (383.1 billion pounds) of the UK retail market. Moreover, mobile commerce sales alone accounted for 6.61 billion pounds of the total.

Online Shopping Trends

The majority of online shoppers in the UK are buying clothing and sporting goods, which was reported as the most popular online purchase with 46 percent. Following close behind were film and music purchases with 40 percent of total sales in 2011.

EMarketer reported that the rapid growth of the Internet has conditioned consumers to be more cautious when shopping online. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they look for bargains and browse other websites for price comparisons. A less patient 15 percent admitted they were only willing to spend more time when buying luxury brand products.

The Internet has made finding product information and customer insights much easier, especially through social network sites. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they used online search engines to find information about a product or service, 37 percent read customer reviews for the same purpose and 17 percent went a step further and went to online forums for discussion.

eCommerce Predictions

The growing penetration rate of mobile devices will foster the future increase of eCommerce sales, as well as dominate most of the market’s incremental growth.

EMarketer predicts tablet commerce will increase by triple digits in 2013 in just its third year of existence. Interestingly, researchers also predicted tablet commerce would overrule mobile phone commerce sales growth. They forecast mobile phone sales will fall to 42.6 percent.

Overall, the study predicted all mCommerce sales would increase from its current state of 15 percent of the eCommerce market, to 26.5 percent by 2017. Retail mCommerce encompasses all products and services that are ordered using an app or browser via mobile device. This statistics will disqualify travel sales and event tickets.

To read the full eMarketer report click here, or the Office for National Statistics report, click here.

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