Housebound consumers continued to heavily rely on online purchases during the government-mandated national lockdown in the first quarter of 2021. During the lockdown, effective between 6 January to 8 March, only essential retailers were allowed to operate, including grocery retailers and those selling health care products, such as chemists/pharmacies and drugstores/parapharmacies.
After the pandemic challenged the operation of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores in 2020, all retailers, despite pre-pandemic strategies, identified investment in the online channel as key to survive and thrive in the reimagined retail environment. Consequently, adopting an omnichannel approach to sales became a conventional strategy amongst retailers operating in the UK.
In 2021, foreign e-commerce value sales remained stable, recording only marginal growth, while domestic e-commerce continued to record much higher current value growth, gaining further share. As a result of home seclusion, demand remained high for fresh food and grocery products, which significantly boosted domestic sales.
Increasing consumer awareness of environmental issues is predicted to continue to impact retail, including e-commerce in the UK. Consumer demand places pressure on retailers to offer more eco-friendly products, or in general to operate in a more sustainable way.
The share of e-commerce within total retailing is projected to remain above pre-pandemic levels over the forecast period. As a result, investing in the development of delivery and distributions remains a long-term focus area for retailers.
The convenience of online shopping is projected to play a key role in the growth of e-commerce over the forecast period. The emergence of subscriptions is expected to be a key contributor to the channel’s ongoing positive performance, as the model is already available at various retailers and across multiple industries.
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Sales of consumer goods to the general public via the Internet. Please note that this includes sales through mobile phones and tablets (i.e. m-commerce). E-commerce includes sales generated through pure e-commerce websites and through sites operated by store-based retailers. Sales data is attributed to the country where the consumer is based, rather than where the retailer is based. The definition of e-commerce is agnostic as to where actual payment takes place; if an order is initiated online, it is considered to be an e-commerce transaction, even if the order is ultimately paid for in-store (or elsewhere). As a result, all ‘click-and-collect’ and ‘collect-at-store’ transactions are counted as e-commerce sales. E-commerce excludes sales of: (a) Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, although please note that sales between businesses and consumers (i.e. B2C sales) on sites such as eBay are included; (b) Sales of motor vehicles, motorcycles and vehicle parts; (c) Tickets for events (sports, music concerts, etc.) and travel; (d) Sales of travel and holiday packages; (e) Revenue generated by online gambling sites; (f) Returned products/unpaid invoices; and (h) Internet sales from direct selling companies, as these are tracked in Direct Selling market size/shares. Example e-commerce brands include Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Apple.com, iTunes, Rakuten, Tesco.com, Dell.com, Coles Online, etc. 3rd Party Merchant sales through online marketplaces, such as Amazon.com, eBay.com and Walmart.com, are included and split out in shares. 3rd party merchants are the summation of sales that come from businesses that are present on an online marketplace (e.g. Amazon, Alibaba). Marketplaces are websites that allow multiple merchants to sell on the marketplace website, with the marketplace operator processing the transactions, but many marketplaces provide offer other services as to help with shipping, handling, payment, and product storage. The marketplace is not the merchant of record legally, but for the sake of shares, sales from 3rd part merchants are attributed to the marketplace brand operator.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our E-Commerce (Goods) research and analysis database.
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