The UK has the highest number of e-commerce shoppers of any EU country. According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 4 out of 5 Brits purchased a product or service online in 2014. This puts us at the top of the pile, followed closely by Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Even more impressive is the fact that the average for Europe is just 50%, putting the UK well ahead.
Online shopping has come a huge way in less than a decade in the UK. Between 2008 and 2013 sales have grown by an amazing 66%. This growth has had a big impact on businesses, forcing them to look carefully at their strategy and decide which channels they want to use and the benefits of using them.
Naturally, the growth in sales has seen the turnover generated from online sales rise too. In 2009 it was 15% but the figure now stands at 20% and could be set to grow even more. It is clear that consumers place a lot of value in e-commerce and the ability to shop online whenever they want from wherever they are.
An interesting trend is that businesses are starting to use online stores as a way to get people to visit their high street stores. Click and Collect services are appearing everywhere from House of Fraser to Asda. These are fantastic from a business perspective because it means consumers need to go to the shop to collect their order, giving the business the chance to capture their interest with promotions and other products when they do so. It is also beneficial for buyers because they can avoid delivery charges and having to ensure somebody is at home to collect their purchases.
However it is applied, whether as the main business or an extra channel, it is clear that e-commerce is important and valued in the UK. It allows businesses to build upon their brands, increase knowledge of them and reach a wider audience.