UK eCommerce spend accounted for more than a quarter of holiday season sales – report

The UK saw a record increase in eCommerce spending during the 2019 holiday season, with eCommerce accounting for 28.2 per cent of all holiday retail sales – beating out the previous 25 per cent record for the first time. According to eMarketer’s newest report, total retail sales for the holiday season hit £99.26bn ($132.33 bn).

“Store closures are a big reason for shopper frustration and the subsequent shift to online as their preferred option,” said Monica Peart, vice president of forecasting, eMarketer.

eMarketer analysts partially attribute the jump in eCommerce sales to the declining popularity of brick-and-mortar stores. During the 2019 holiday season, brick-and-mortar sales dropped by the largest percentage since eMarketer began tracking UK retail spending 10 years ago – 3.8 per cent to £71.27 bn ($95.02 bn). For the entirety of 2020, eMarketer predicts total retail sales (including auto sales) will increase 1.2 per cent to £487.30 bn ($649.66 bn), which is still the slowest growth rate since 2015 (.2 per cent)

“Brexit has been looming over the retail market for two and a half years with mixed results,” said Peart. “At times, consumers have reacted to the looming Brexit by spending more. In other cases, it’s been a stalling force. What is clear about 2020 is that there will continue to be uncertainty around the implications of Brexit.”

While brick-and-mortar sales will most likely continue to decrease, eCommerce will account for 8.9 per cent sales in 2020, reaching £114.26 bn ($152.33 bn). mCommerce – online sales via tablets and smartphones – will represent for 50 per cent of all UK online sales for the first time ever. Looking ahead, mCommerce will grow 15.3 per cent to reach £58.05 bn ($77.38 bn) in 2020, being led by smartphones (62.5 per cent) versus tablets (36.7 per cent).