Online Spending Tops £230 Billion as More Brits Buy by Computer

Ecommerce is big and it’s only getting bigger according to the stats. With number crunchers now collating data from 2017 and looking towards another year of spending, the news is that more people in the UK are buying online.

Heading into 2017, the Centre for Retail Research predicted that online spending would top £230.62 billion. Based on revenue rates from the previous two years, analysts assumed an average growth rate of between 14% and 15% into 2017 and beyond. From this, we’re likely to see internet sales hit £262.46 billion in 2018.
The Office of National Statistics has provided evidence to support these bullish predictions. Surveying households across the UK, the government research agency found that 77% of adults had paid for good or services online within the last 12 months. Although that figure correlates with the data gathered in 2016, it’s 24% higher than it was in 2008. Of the purchases made online, clothes and sporting goods topped the table. 56% of adults made purchases in this area, while household goods came in second.

Major Online Brands Buck the Spending Trend

These stats are hardly surprising given that Amazon was one of the top performers in 2017. Despite issues regarding taxation, the American company generated UK online sales of £7.3 billion. Following a similar trend, online clothing retailer Asos saw its profits soar by 145% in 2017 thanks to international sales topping £1.9 billion and UK revenue touching £700 million. Aside from supporting the notion that online spending is continuing to improve, the results are impressive in light of a perceived slump in consumer spending.

A 2017 survey by Visa suggested that consumer spending in the UK had fallen to its lowest level for four years. In spite of this, online retailers managed to post solid growth. In fact, it’s not just in the retail sector where big brands raked in virtual bank notes. Entertainment now accounts for one in four online purchases according to research from the UK Cards Association. Based on the most recent data from 2015, the average Brit spends £4,611 on things such as takeaways, booking concert tickets, music downloads and gaming. Indeed, data from the UK Gambling Commission ties in with this. Reviewing the amount consumers spend on casino-style gaming, the UKGC found that online sales now generate the most revenue.

Of the £13.7 billion in revenue generated across the betting sector between April 2016 and March 2017, online operators contributed £4.7 billion (34%). UK online casino Mr. Smith is an example of how accessible games and incentives are helping to encourage more people to play via their desktops or mobiles. Much like Amazon caters to a wide demographic by offering thousands of varied products, Mr Smith has a variety of games available at different price points, including free play practice games. This ability to cater to the masses is something that online business across the board have been able to use to their advantage.

Ease and Efficiency Make e-commerce Effective

Without the space limitations physical outlets have, internet companies can essentially be all things to all people. Moreover, online operators can be all things to all people at all times. Perhaps the most interesting statistic is the recent uptick in mobile spending. At the close of 2016, IMRG’s research found that smartphone spending had jumped up by 47% in December of that year. With major brands making the mobile spending experience easier to manage, results have improved across the board.
Indeed, as we move through 2018 and beyond, the growth of e-commerce will continue. With consumers now able to access more services, more offers and, importantly, more efficient software, the data would suggest that the internet may soon become our default spending platform.

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