UK ecommerce sales top £14bn in both Q1 and Q2 2018, up 10% year-on-year

Digital Marketing

The sum­mer sport­ing sea­son, a heat­wave and even the roy­al wed­ding have giv­en us plen­ty of rea­sons (or excus­es) to open our wal­lets these past few months. But what have these sum­mer mile­stones deliv­ered to UK retail­ers? As we enter the sec­ond half of 2018, we’ve tak­en a clos­er look at this year’s online sales to find out. We analysed over one tril­lion trans­ac­tions run­ning through Adobe Expe­ri­ence Cloud and spoke to con­sumers in both the UK and the US to under­stand some of the peaks and pat­terns of year so far.

Some inter­est­ing find­ings were dis­cov­ered, here’s our pick of the top trends for the UK:

Record beat­ing year for online spend­ing

Growth in UK online spend­ing has beat­en pre­vi­ous records, with e-com­merce sales exceed­ing £28bn (over £14 bil­lion per quar­ter) in the first half of the year – a stag­ger­ing 9.9% year-on-year (YOY) growth in Q1 and 10.7% in Q2. The US was slight­ly ahead in terms of growth in Q2, with an increase of 14.6% YOY, tak­ing sales to $115 bil­lion.

What’s dri­ving this growth in e-com­merce sales? Tak­ing a step back to look at eco­nom­ic impact more broad­ly, the Office of Nation­al Sta­tis­tics (ONS) has point­ed to record weath­er, the wed­ding of Prince Har­ry and Meghan Markle and the start of the world’s biggest foot­ball cham­pi­onship as rea­sons for increased con­sumer con­fi­dence and spend­ing. In fact, the two high­est online sales were the first days of the com­pe­ti­tion (June 14th and 15th) – £218.7 mil­lion and £237.6 mil­lion respec­tive­ly.

On the flip­side, two of the oth­er most notable dates this past quar­ter – the roy­al wed­ding and Good Fri­day – were in fact the slow­est for online sales. With e-com­merce trans­ac­tions sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er on the days before and after these events, it seems UK con­sumers often take time off from both work and shop­ping on big occa­sions like these.

Half of UK con­sumers buy gro­ceries online

We are also quick­ly becom­ing a nation of online shop­pers. Our data shows that UK con­sumers are more like­ly to have bought gro­ceries online than their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts, with over half (52%) hav­ing ordered via store web­sites at some point in the past year, com­pared to just a third (33%) in the US. Britons aren’t just using online stores for the basics either: 40% now buy most of their gro­ceries online, com­pared to 23% in the US. UK shop­pers have also embraced mobile shop­ping much more quick­ly: while vis­its from smart­phones to UK retail­ers over­took desk­top vis­its in Decem­ber 2017, it took US retail­ers until June 2018 to do the same.

Online retail­ers expe­ri­ence ‘Man­ic Mon­days’

While shop­ping fig­ures are low­est over the week­end, Mon­days con­sis­tent­ly have the high­est sales of the week, with sales decreas­ing as the week goes on. This trend goes back to the days of direct mail cat­a­logues, where deci­sions were made on Sat­ur­days and Sun­days, and con­ver­sions took place back at work on a Mon­day. Con­sumers also used to enjoy faster broad­band speeds in their office, so would wait until being at their desk to make pur­chas­es. More recent­ly, shop­pers are spend­ing their week­ends research­ing options (often vis­it­ing phys­i­cal stores to see goods in per­son) and then pur­chas­ing online at the start of the work­ing week, when more evenings are spent at home.

Buy British’ prompts surge in home­grown sales

Look­ing ahead to the rest of the year, we dug into some of the retail events that could be ones to watch. Although rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file com­pared to events like Black Fri­day and Cyber Mon­day, Buy British Day is start­ing to have an impact on e-com­merce sales. Held on Octo­ber 1st, the day is designed to pro­mote home­grown busi­ness­es. In 2017, retail­ers saw 11% more rev­enue com­ing from inside the coun­try com­pared to the rest of the year, with a 7% uplift in sales com­pared to a typ­i­cal day. In 2018, Octo­ber 1st is expect­ed to see a 12% lift over an aver­age Wednes­day.

These insights high­light the impor­tance of cre­at­ing great expe­ri­ences that reach con­sumers when it mat­ters the most. Retail­ers need to make smart but trans­par­ent use of data to per­son­alise these expe­ri­ences so they meet their needs in a way that builds brand love. What learn­ings can we take and apply to the rest of the year?

  • For notable dates – such as pub­lic hol­i­days or high-pro­file events – machine learn­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence can help fore­cast offer sched­ul­ing, allo­ca­tion of goods and rec­om­men­da­tions to improve the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, flow of prod­ucts and any poten­tial inter­nal effi­cien­cies
  • For UK brands, Buy British Day is start­ing to turn into a major event. Plan ahead by build­ing great expe­ri­ences that dri­ve con­ver­sions on Octo­ber 1st and ensure you’re ready to deliv­er to increased con­sumer demand
  • Most brands have already opti­mised for mobile. Now, the chal­lenge is to deliv­er an expe­ri­ence that is both opti­mised and per­son­alised, at scale. The aug­ment­ed real­i­ty (AR) capa­bil­i­ties with­in smart­phones will change how we shop in the phys­i­cal space – either intel­li­gent­ly pro­vid­ing rec­om­men­da­tions based on pref­er­ences while in store, or help­ing visu­alise how items online would look in-per­son (Ikea’s AR app is a great exam­ple of this). Retail­ers should con­sid­er how these capa­bil­i­ties could help them build per­son­alised expe­ri­ences
  • Don’t take Mon­days off! Or at least plan ahead for them. A well-timed and con­ve­nient expe­ri­ence could help cap­ture a sale on the day con­sumers are most like­ly to spend online

About Adobe Dig­i­tal Price Index

The Adobe Dig­i­tal Price Index is based on analy­sis of over 1 tril­lion vis­its to over 4,500 retail sites in the U.S and UK. Pric­ing insights are based on analy­sis of sales of more than 55 mil­lion unique prod­ucts in these regions. In addi­tion, Adobe sur­veyed 1,000 con­sumers in the U.S. and the U.K., respec­tive­ly, between May 31st and June 6th, 2018.

You can find more data and details from our Dig­i­tal Price Index here.


Digital Marketing
Vijayanta Gupta

Posted on 19-07-2018


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