Charting the Growth of UK
E-commerce


By Dan Nichols on 7th June, 2017.

UK E-commerce Growth

Over the past few years, sophisticated apps and e-commerce websites have developed to provide the right platforms for consumers to confidently make purchases online. Now it’s reported that UK shoppers make 51% of their purchases online, with big global businesses like Amazon and Apple reigning supreme when it comes to web traffic.

According to the Office of National Statistics, online sales have grown for 35 consecutive months’ year-on-year in the UK, with shoppers browsing for anything from groceries, to DIY products and clothing, all from their laptop, desktop or smartphone. To put this into some context, Amazon UK attracts 2,863,500 unique visitors a day, while reports by Twenga Solutions estimate 92% of the UK population are Internet users.

These stats certainly indicate a strong and growing e-commerce marketplace in the UK, with an increasingly online and savvy audience, underlining the vital role of maintaining a secure, always available web presence when trading online.


UK E-commerce Sites Leading by Example

The companies topping the e-commerce rankings in the UK are all big names; Amazon is at number one, but you’ll also find travel agents like Thomas Cook in the top 50, along with streaming behemoth Netflix, and the 100% online fashion retailer, Asos.

The success of online only companies like this continues to grow. Asos is forecasting a 20% to 25% increase in sales this year alone, to £1.75bn. Similarly, American-based Netflix is now a fixture in a quarter of UK households and has become so ingrained in modern life that it has its own innuendo.

When you look at our country’s top 10 e-commerce businesses, it makes for familiar reading – they’re all big household names, with several traditional bricks and mortar retailers who have recognised the potential of e-commerce and transferred their high street popularity over to the virtual marketplace:

1. Amazon

2. Argos

3. Apple

4. Tesco

5. Netflix

6. Asda

7. Marks & Spencer

8. EE

9. Boots

10. John Lewis

The growth of online shopping certainly doesn’t mean that bricks and mortar shops are obsolete; rather that they are not necessarily required to be a successful retailer and that there is a growing expectation from the average consumer for traditional retailers to also have a strong online presence.

Mintel report that one in ten of us do all their grocery shopping online. The report adds that the number of people expected to do their grocery shopping online is set to grow by 73%, contributing to a total £15bn spend online by 2020. Hard for any currently single channel retailers to ignore those sorts of numbers.


Where M-commerce Fits In

With over 93% of adults personally owning or using a mobile phone in the UK, it’s easy to see why 60% of UK retailers have adopted mobile retailing, whether through responsive websites, dedicated applications or both.

In December 2016, e-commerce sales via smartphones rose 47% year-over-year. The same report by Capgemini and IMRG reported that 54% of online sales were made with smartphones in December 2015, revealing an increase of 15% year-on-year.

A key contributing factor to this rise in m-commerce sales is not only the huge penetration of mobile devices but the introduction of more advanced smartphones with bigger screens, making online shopping on the move, easier than ever.

Mobile devices are now central to many consumers’ lives and have made big a impact on traditional retail, with the rapid rise of mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay, making them even more central to the way we shop and make payments.

What about B2B E-commerce?

B2C e-commerce is part and parcel of our daily lives, but these consumer companies aren’t the only ones investing in their mobile and online platforms.

One of the most explosive growth areas in UK e-commerce has been in the UK B2B market. Manufacturers and wholesalers have also taken the opportunity to tap into an increasingly online aware audience, with a forecasted 27% of the global B2B market being conducted online by 2020.

The Future is Bright for UK E-commerce

If the thought-leaders and media websites agree on one thing, it’s that e-commerce is set to grow even further in the years to come. Consumer expectations and sophisticated technologies are paving the way for a continued and rapid, upwards trajectory.

With better smartphones and increased consumer adoption, m-commerce is set to become an even more important channel for businesses. BI Intelligence forecasts that by 2020, mobile will account for 45% of the $632 billion in total e-commerce sales, further establishing purchases via smartphones as a significant contributing factor to the future of e-commerce growth.

As technology becomes slicker, through the devices themselves or the apps companies develop, making a quick, secure purchase through a mobile phone will become more commonplace for an even wider range of different products and services.

From a business perspective, e-commerce companies will have to keep investing in their platforms to ensure they offer optimised, secure websites and mobile applications.

The Importance of Being Online

As a cloud hosting provider, we often talk and write about the importance of being online 24/7. The online retail landscape has never been more competitive or dynamic and for online retailers, any length of downtime will result in a loss of revenue and customers.

Today’s e-commerce market offers a massive opportunity and if you’re trading online, it has never been more important to select a cloud provider with specific UK e-commerce know-how. Choosing a trusted provider will make all the difference when it comes to keeping pace and competing within an incredibly fast-moving sector.

Get in Touch

If you’d like to chat to us about our experience and e-commerce portfolio, get in touch.


Dan Nichols

Chief Technical Officer

As Secura’s CTO, Dan is responsible for the team that design, build and maintain our cutting edge cloud hosting infrastructure. He is also the dishwasher police – stack it or else.

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@securacloud