• UK’s online retail sales will grow by 11.5% in 2017
  • British online shoppers will spend £1,428.39 per head online in 2017, a third higher than the European average of £1003.54
  • 71.5% of the UK population are now e-shoppers
  • UK consumers set to spend £67.38 billion online in 2017

New research from, part of RetailMeNot, and the Centre for Retail Research, has revealed that the UK is expected to spend a whopping £27.02 billion1 on mobile devices this year, an increase of 26% from £21.51 billion in 2016.

The UK will spend more on mobile devices than any other European market, with Germany coming in second at £24.54 billion and France third at £11.54 billion. In line with the rise in mobile spending, the number of mobile shoppers in the UK is also expected to rise sharply – from 23 million in 2016 to over 28 million in 2017 – as more retailers adopt a mobile-first strategy.

The rise and rise of mobile

By the end of 2017, mobile devices will be responsible for 27.9% of online retail sales in Europe, on average. In the UK, the split will be even more profound – with 40.1% of online retail sales being made using a mobile device2. The growing consumer trust around shopping via mobile, coupled with investments made by retailers to improve their user experience on smartphones and tablets, are key factors in this impressive growth. Development of mobile payment systems, such as ApplePay, has accelerated this trend, although these nascent technologies are predominantly used for transacting in stores, they underline the ever-growing importance of mobile across all retail touchpoints. Research from and YouGov last year also found that Brits are now spending 8.6% of their disposable income using mobile payment devices3.

The value of mobile payment transactions is also on the rise, with the average payment made using a mobile device increasing by 9.2% since 2015, compared to an increase of just 2.4% across Europe, as Brits look to make bigger purchases on their mobile or tablet devices. The research found that the average value of mobile transactions in the UK was £51 in 2016, a figure that is predicted to rise to £55 over the next 12 months. In Europe, the average transaction value was just £44 in 2016, set to rise to £45 in 2017.

 UK continues to outstrip European counterparts

Despite the maturity of the market, total online spending in the UK is set to hit £67.38 billion in 2017, and then £73.58 billion by 2018 – a huge shift from the 2014 figure of just £46.19 billion, outstripping every other European country and making up 29% of Europe’s total online spend:

Internet Sales 2014-2018 (please see appendix 4 for full table)
Sterling, Billions20142015201620172018

E-shoppers in the UK are set to spend £1,428.39 per head in 2017, 38% higher than the European average of £1003.54. The research also found that the UK is a nation of avid e-shoppers, with 72% of Brits (over 45 million) shopping online on a regular basis, significantly more than the European average (52%) and 16 points above Germany (56%).

The and CRR research did find, however, that the growth of online sales in the UK will slow down from 12.6% to 11.5% in 2017, as a result of the deterioration of the global economy. This growth is expected to drop further still in 2018, down to 9.2%. However, average transaction values will grow, increasing from £62 in 2016 to £65 in 2017 in the UK. Across Europe as a whole, average transaction value will remain below the UK, increasing slightly from £58 to £59.

 Claire Davenport, Managing Director at, says “These latest figures confirm the increasing significance of mobile to both retailers and consumers, which is now the main driver for the continued growth of the online retail sector.

“This year, 40 pence of every pound spent online will come from a mobile transaction, a reality that retailers simply cannot ignore.

“To remain competitive and respond to customer demands, it is more vital than ever for UK retailers to evolve their mobile offering. This can be done by providing an optimised and mobile-friendly online shopping experience, developing truly seamless customer experiences across all channels, and harnessing the power of targeted mobile marketing to drive footfall.

“As a nation, we are embracing mobile spending far more than our European counterparts – proving that the UK’s consumers and retailers are very open to digital innovation in retail.”

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