Marketing and media research group eMarketer has estimated that electronic retail sales in the UK will increase by 16% this year, while mobile sales will rise by as much as 64.8%, the research company said. The main drivers behind overall e-tail sales are the improving economy, the increasing usage of mobile devices and a greater choice of product delivery options for online shoppers.
The catalysts behind the significant increase in m-commerce sales are the rapidly growing ownership of tablets and the fact that people are becoming more comfortable with shopping through these devices. The latter is attributable to their larger surface, which facilitates navigation and making purchases. According to eMarketer, at the moment more than 25% of online sales are made from a mobile device and by 2018 this figure will rise to 40%. Tablets will likely continue to surpass smartphones when it comes to e-tail sales although smartphone ownership and use are higher as a whole.
Tablets are expected to contribute to about 67% of all m-commerce sales this year. In money terms, eMarketer expects tablets to generate £9.28 billion in e-tail sales this year and expand to £20.96 billion by 2018. Overall, e-tail sales will reach £52.22 billion this year and grow to £59.01 billion in 2015. For 2016 and 2017, eMarketer projects £64.91 billion and £70.75 billion respectively. Come 2018, online sales will generate £76.41 billion.
As opposed to e-tail sales, total retail sales in the UK are expected to increase by merely 3.6% this year and the rate of expansion will decelerate after that. E-commerce sales will account for 13% of all retail sales in the UK this year, a figure that will rise to 17.6% in 2018. M-commerce sales, on the other hand, will account for 27% of all e-tail sales this year and rise to 38% by 2018.