Phone buying now worth £16bn

Remember that Nokia 6110 you had back in the 90s? The one that could just about make a call if you were downwind and standing less than two feet from the recipient? The one that took photos fuzzier than the fuzz on Fuzzy Bar’s top lip? Yeah, well things have moved on a bit.

How so? Well, the market for retail ecommerce purchases by smartphone in the UK today is worth over £16 billion. We’re buying everything from groceries to gorilla suits online with our phones.

eMarketer’s latest UK ecommerce forecast tells us that 58.6% of digital buyers aged 14 or over will buy something on their phones this year. That’s 25.2 million people. And they predict smartphones will be the medium for 46.5% of all UK mcommerce sales. (Mcommerce includes sales over tablet. You knew that, right?).

Smartphone commerce is moving faster than a curry through a choirboy. This year’s tally will be up 45.7% from 2016, when sales grew by 66.0%. That’s over three times the 18% growth of UK retail ecommerce overall last year. That trend is continuing in 2017, outpacing a predicted 14.5% increase in overall ecommerce sales.

Bill Fisher, eMarketer senior analyst, said, “UK consumers are becoming ever-more comfortable using their mobile devices, and particularly smartphones, for retail purchases.

“The slowly rising use of mobile payment options is adding a bit more fuel to the fire. The more comfortable people become using their smartphones for payment in a retail environment, the more likely they are to use them for retail shopping and buying more generally.”

Experts predict that the total UK ecommerce market will be worth over £81.55 billion in 2017. Of this, £35.31 billion will come be down to mobile commerce. That’s an awful lot of Cats in Space t-shirts.

eMarketer predicts 2017’s rise in retail mcommerce will be followed by further double-digit gains in the next four years.

By 2021, UK retail mcommerce will be worth £58.50 billion, says eMarketer. That’s more than half of the country’s retail ecommerce sales.

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Author Chris Painter

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