UK consumers have emerged as the biggest e-commerce fans globally, in a report prepared by The Economic Intelligence Unit, with online purchase seen to contribute 13.2% to total retail sales this year. e-commerce is set to grow further, capturing one third, or even more, of the country’s retail market in 10 years.
Online retail is chiefly triggered by the “try before you buy” practice embraced by brands for products in the clothing or groceries categories for instance, which allows shoppers to choose beyond conventional online product picks such as electronics, books or downloads. Social media platforms, which brands now tend to use as alternative sales channels, have the power to impact on consumers’ buying decisions. Although social media has yet to gain retailer’s trust in terms of interaction with consumers and marketing power, the Economic Intelligence Unit takes note of the particular influence of online pinboard community Pinterest on UK consumers. This platform is speeding up retail opportunities at a significant pace, by directing traffic from pinned items and products to the websites linked with them.
Mobile technology is also among the drivers behind online trade in the UK. By 2022, m-commerce is likely become a mainstream platform for shopping, benefiting from consumers’ tendency to make impulse purchases on the go and their affection for “showrooming”, i.e. searching online for the best price and making a deal online after seeing the product in a physical store.