The UK is one of the world’s leading e-commerce nations, particularly in groceries, where it was an early mover compared to the Nordic countries, for example. E-commerce consumers are both domestic and foreign non-residents, which contributes to the country’s strength in the market. Internet penetration is 98%, making the UK one of the top EU countries for internet usage. In May 2021, e-commerce accounted for more than 30% of all retail sales.
Impact of the coronavirus pandemic
The UK has been under a series of lockdowns during the pandemic. The lack of open physical stores led Britons to turn to e-commerce. As much as 40% of consumers state they have shopped more online as a result of the pandemic, and this in a country that already does a large amount of its shopping online.
There are many UK-based e-commerce companies with large market shares. ASOS is one of the world’s leading fashion and footwear retailers. In 2020, the company’s net sales increased by 20% to GBP 3.26 billion. US market participants Amazon and eBay are also very strong in the country, but Brexit is making things slightly more difficult for the online retail giants. Amazon sellers have been able to ship their goods to a warehouse in the UK for onward transport to the rest of the EU. Instead, many e-tailers are opening central warehouses in other European countries.
Most commonly bought products
The favorite product categories to buy for UK online consumers have been quite stable over the past years. Holding steady in first place is fashion and footwear at 64%, followed by groceries at 46%, books and media at 40%, and cosmetics and skincare at 38%.
To learn more about the different European markets and what you need to know to succeed with e-commerce there, order your free copy of the ”E-commerce in Europe 2021” report.
Olof Källgren, Market Information Manager, Direct Link