The Retail Market Continues to Grow in the UK

Mobile commerce is driving growth

December 26, 2017

Despite the uncertain economic climate, the retail market in the UK is growing, driven mainly by mobile commerce.

eMarketer estimates UK retail mcommerce sales will rise by 14.2% between 2017 and 2021, when purchases made online via mobile devices will make up well over one-tenth (13.4%) of total retail sales.

The forecast is part of eMarketer's latest report, "UK Retail and Ecommerce." The report includes eMarketer's forecast for retail sales, retail ecommerce sales and mcommerce sales in the UK, as well as estimates for digital shoppers and buyers. eMarketer PRO subscribers can access the full report here. Nonsubscribers can learn more here.

Total retail sales in the UK are expected to increase by 4.2% in 2017 to £433.07 billion ($584.52 billion). Growth will slow down in 2018, however, as consumers become more cautious of their spending ahead of the anticipated decision on Brexit.

Ecommerce continues to be the biggest driver of retail sales growth in the UK, and it has remained relatively unaffected by economic uncertainty. In 2018, eMarketer estimates, retail ecommerce sales will reach £93.82 billion ($126.64 billion), eclipsing one-fifth of total retail sales for the first time. By 2021, that figure will reach over one-quarter of the total.

Meanwhile, in 2017, smartphone mcommerce sales in the UK were forecast to outpace sales on tablets for the first time, due largely to consumers becoming more accustomed to making both higher-value and on-the-go purchases via smartphone.