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eCommerce Environment

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This section concisely documents statistics and facts related to the use of online and mobile in the UK, and specifically examines these channels as they relate to e-Retail. From popular search engines and social media platforms to individual spends and online, m-Retail and e-Retail sector growth, this section offers a comprehensive overview of the general trends and statistics a merchant should be aware of when digitally expanding into the UK.


Technological penetration

  • Number of internet users 2015: 45 million (86%)
  • Number of mobile phones 2015: 89 million (139%)

National website domains

In the UK, the two most prestigious domains are ‘’ and ‘.com.’ Other, mainly non-commercial, domain names include .org and .ac, the latter of which is mainly used by academic institutions.


Rank Domain
2 .com
3 .net



Popular search engines

The three most popular search engines in the UK, together with the relative percentages of their usage, are listed below:

  • Google - 94.38%
  • Yahoo! - 3.24%
  • Bing - 2.06%
  • Other - 0.32%

Social media

Over 80% of British internet users are active on social media, with Facebook being the most popular platform. It was also reported that a British consumer is also likely to be a member of at least two different social networks.


Whilst it is currently hard for many brands to see social media’s direct effect on sales in the UK (see ‘Marketing’), it is still considered to be a valuable marketing and brand-education tool..


Leading social media platforms in the UK are:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat


E-retail in the UK

Key statistics:

  • 2015 average online spend per capita: £1,932
  • 2015 average order value (excluding travel): £73
  • 2015 average order value (including travel): £122
  • Online’s percentage of total retail in 2015: 27%

How they buy - broadband vs mobile

Mobile commerce (which includes both sales via tablets and smartphones) accounted for 45% of the UK e-retail market in 2015, up from less than 1% in 2010. Four out of five of the devices making up this figure in 2015 were tablets and the remainder smartphones. 63% of retail website visits are now coming via mobile, according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report.

The latest data from eDigitalResearch indicates that 44% of UK consumers have used their smartphones to shop online for products, while 54% have purchased goods via a tablet device..

Peak online shopping times

In the UK, peak online shopping times include:

  • Mondays, but Sunday evenings are also becoming a peak shopping time for ‘sofa surfing’ on tablet devices
  • Black Friday – the fourth Friday in November; a commercial import from the US where ‘Black Friday’ is the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday now accounts for more sales than Cyber Monday and pulls forward ‘peak’ into November. Online, Black Friday week is
  • worth £4.3bn
  • ‘Cyber Monday’ - the first Monday in December and the two weeks starting on Black Friday and moving into December now constitute online peak sales period
  • high levels of consumer traffic is seen during commuting hours (7am – 9am on weekdays), when retailers have reported spikes in traffic as consumers are accessing websites via smartphones. Spikes are also seen during lunchtime and in the evenings on tablet devices

Retail categories

The top-selling UK online retail categories are displayed in the table below, ordered by overall sales

Ranking    Sector
1 Clothing and fashion
2 Electricals
3 Beers, wines and spirits
4 Travel
5 Health and beauty
6 Gifts

Online and mobile e-retail growth

Average e-retail growth recorded since 2009 are as follows:

  • 2009 - 14%
  • 2010 - 18%
  • 2011 - 16%
  • 2012 - 14%
  • 2013 - 16%
  • 2014 - 14%
  • 2015 - 11%

Further information

To access the Full Report, follow this link here to register and download.

Territory Overview

Territory Overview

Territory Overview This section forms a general overview of the UK as a trading location, and contains information related to population, component parts, gross domestic product and population distribution.
Marketing and Branding

Marketing and Branding

Marketing and Branding This section explores the most popular and effective marketing mechanisms in the UK.
Business Environment

Business Environment

Business Environment This section examines the UK political and socio-economic environment and how it will affect your online business.
Finance and Payments

Finance and Payments

Finance and Payments This section documents the key financial information you should take into account before trading in the UK.


Legal This section provides an overview of the legal framework of the UK.
Corporate Forms

Corporate Forms

Corporate Forms This section explores the main corporate forms that exist within the UK and the requirements for operating in each.


Logistics This section examines significant trends, advances and practices in UK logistics and delivery.
Customer Experience

Customer Experience

Customer Experience This final section offers information and advice on inspiring consumer confidence and promoting customer retention.

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