The final month of 2013 saw UK shoppers spend £11 billion online, which is a rise of 18% in comparison to the same period of 2012. The figure brought the full-year total to £91 billion, with online sales accounting for roughly 21% of the entire retail market and translating into annual growth of 16%, the IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index report shows.
The increase was ahead of IMRG’s previous forecast for a 12% improvement in online retail sales in 2013, and was mainly driven by greater online shopping activity via smartphones and tablets. The researchers now predict that this year, the UK online shopping market will expand at a stronger pace (17%) than 2013, with the potential to reach £107 billion.
2013 was no doubt the year of mobile, with sales conducted via mobile devices jumping 138% over 2012. Tablets, in particular, enjoyed 131% growth in online sales in 2013, while the rate recorded for smartphones was even more impressive, at 186%. As a whole, m-commerce generated sales of £3 billion last year, or 27% of all online sales. M-retail is now forecast to drive 30% of online sales in the first three months of 2014.
A major factor fuelling growth in m-commerce was the increasing use of click and collect services, which now play a central part in the purchasing process. The Index showed that a quarter of sales made with multichannel retailers in 2013 involved purchasing or reserving items online and then collecting in store. These mechanisms resulted in a 6% monthly growth in the December revenues of retailers that are present both online and offline.