Uk eCommerce Insights

Female fashion is the biggest opportunity in the UK market, with substantial growth expected across a number of demographics and product categories



The UK is ranked in the top 30 richest countries in the world, according to the World Bank. Home to 64.4 million people with a total GDP of 2.85 trillion USD. GDP per capita is currently 45,599 USD and expected to reach 55,576 USD by 2020. An attractive market for international retailers given the large population, with high income, spread over a small land mass.

Digital User Insights

There are currently 39.2 million eCommerce users in the UK, with growth projected that will see an additional 9.2 million users shopping online by 2020, a number which is bigger than the total population of some markets. By 2020, the UK will have 48 million ecommerce users, representing 73% of the total population. The average user spends 1,743 USD online, a figure that will reach 2,183 USD by 2020.

Number of Users eCommerce Uk eCommerce Insights

In 2016, there are considerably more women shopping online than men. Women account for 25.3 million shoppers, with men making up the remaining 17.5 million shoppers. This trend will continue, with 2020 seeing female shoppers continue to outnumber male shoppers online. Women between the ages of 24 and 34 will shop online more than any other demographic, accounting for 8 million online shoppers.

Users By age group and Gender UK eCommerce Insights

Product Categories

Total eCommerce revenue across all product categories is 74.8 billion USD, and is expected to reach 105.8 billion USD by 2020. Fashion is currently the leading product category accounting for 22.1 billion USD market share. Toys, Hobby and DIY is the second product category generating 18.1 billion USD.

By 2020, Fashion is to remain the leading product category. Valued at 32.4 billion USD, it will clearly lead from Electronics and Toys, Hobby and DIY which will both reach 22.6 billion USD.

Projected eCommerce Revenue per Market Segment UK ecommerce


The UK is ranked 8th in the World Bank Logistics ranking, it has consistently ranked in the top 10 countries for logistics since 2007. The majority of the UK’s population lives in urban areas with this figure increasing on a year on year basis. Current urbanization is 83% according to the World Bank.

Preferred Online Payments

The bulk of online payments in the UK are made via credit/debit card, with this payment method accounting for 88.5% of payments. Paypal is the most popular alternate payment type, with 7.7% of payments made using this method online. Other alternate payment types include: bank transfers, gift cards, prepaid cards and e-wallets.

Preferred online payments Uk eCommerce

Where does the UK buy from?

Germany supplies the UK with 100 billion USD in imports. Other key import partners are China (62.7 billion USD), Netherlands (50.7 billion USD), US (44.4 billion USD) and France (41.5 billion USD).

Top 5 UK ecommerce Import Countries

Internet and Device Usage

Internet penetration in the UK is currently at 95.6%, and should reach 98.8% by 2020. Smartphone penetration is 64.3% and is projected to grow to 80.9% by 2020.  

Over 65% of online shoppers have made an online purchase using a laptop, with over 45% using a desktop. Over 35% of shoppers have used a smartphone to make a purchase, and similarly over 35% have used a tablet.

device usage by frequency UK ecommerce insights


Marketing spend in the UK has grown year on year since 2010, growing from just under 23 billion USD to 31 billion USD. Digital Marketing leads the charge accounting for almost 14 billion USD of the market spend. Television advertising accounts for just over 8 billion USD of the market spend.

Advertising Spend in the UK  ecommerce by million USD

Social Media

The UK’s Social Media usage is spread across a number of platforms. Users are most likely to log onto Facebook, Twitter or Youtube on a regular basis. 60% of the UK use Facebook on a daily basis, with Twitter and Youtube accounting for a smaller, but significant share of users. Other popular networks include Instagram, as well as messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Cumulative frequency of social media platforms usage in the UK ecommerce

For more market insights, check out the eShopWorld series of blogs covering a range of emerging eCommerce markets. 

*Insights derived from eShopWorld data, Statista, WorldBank, OECD and other industry sources.