Countries Overview

European Ecommerce Overview: The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a power on the world stage. It is an important player in many economic and social negotiations. Its GDP in 2019 stood at the level of US$2827.11 billion. Due to pandemic situations and Brexit, the year 2020 may be a little worse in the case of economics, but the UK still gets its power.

Below you will find some valuable insights from the world of UK ecommerce. We will cover the topic of consumers’ behavior, favorite ways of payments, social media, and the logistics market. Let’s begin. 

Ecommerce overview in the UK

The value of the ecommerce market in the UK in 2019 was US$82,402m. The compound annual growth rate is predicted to reach 6% by 2023. When it comes to market penetration, it was 82% in 2019. This means that during the last year, 82% of British bought at least once something online. And that’s quite a score. 

The biggest revenue brought the Fashion sector – 34% of the total revenue. Then Toys, Hobby & DIY with 19%. The third-place belongs to Electronics & Media – it generated 18% of the revenue. Both two last sectors Furniture & Appliances, and Food & Personal Care, covered 15% each of the total revenue.

The most popular ecommerce in the UK are Amazon, eBay, and Argos. All three are based in the .uk domain. 


Consumer behavior in the UK

The mass consumers are running the market of the United Kingdom. Price and quality are what mainly determines the purchases of the British. Such aspects and environmental impact are also important. Importantly, these consumers appreciate the high level of after-sales service. Ecommerce is quite popular in the UK, but Brexit significantly affects consumer confidence in cross-border shopping. Moreover, around 60% of Britons believe that the products’ British origin is as important as the price. The price primarily determines British consumers’ loyalty – if a given brand applies an affordable pricing policy, the British consumer will remain faithful to it. 

Increased environmental awareness is a global trend that also includes the UK. Half of UK consumers are willing to pay more if the manufacturer supports an important cause. Ecology has the most significant impact on sectors such as food and cosmetics. Interestingly, ethical fashion is more and more popular, and by 2022 it should break the popularity of luxury brands.


Apart from the fact that British products are always number ones in their hearts, they sometimes do cross-border shopping too. The British buy the most from Germany – the value of shopping stand at the level of  US$100 billion. The second favorite country is China – US$62.7 billion, then the Netherlands with US$50.7 billion. The last two the US with US$44.4 billion and France with US$41.5 billion value of shopping 

British payment preferences

Cards account for more than half of the transactions. They are the leading solution in e-commerce. About 96% of the UK population has an active bank account, which in most cases, means having a debit or credit card. The British like to use what they know well, and the origins of card payments can be traced back to the 1960s. So it fits the pattern. The number of debit cards per capita exceeds one, while in the case of credit cards, it is slightly less than one. 


Digital wallets are quite a serious player in the arena of payments in the UK. The speed with which the popularity of such solutions is growing is amazing. Most likely, this is due to the fact that solutions like PayPal are seen as one of the safest payment methods. The British are very concerned about the security of their data and finances. That is why PayPal covers 20% of digital wallet transactions.

Payment safety 

In the UK, the vast majority of payments accompanying online purchases are card payments. The 3D Secure security, obligatory for Visa or Mastercard cards, plays an important role here. This should significantly reduce the percentage of online fraud. Data security concerns are legitimate. Online fraud ratio is quite high compared to the European average – 2% and amounts to 5%,

Social media  in the United Kingdom

In 2020 there are 65 million people online. From which 45 million use social media. British people spend online almost five and half-hour online and nearly two hours surfing on social media. The average number of social media accounts per user is 6.8. 


The top three in the case of social media are Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube. You can reach 37 million users via Facebook Ads, so it is definitely pay off to invest in such a solution. 


Logistic in the UK

The leading courier companies in the UK are DPD, Hermes, and DHL. They handle 29%, 15%, and 14% of shipments, respectively.


The main logistics hubs are located around the whole United Kingdom. Which means Glasgow, Coventry, Carlisle, Leeds, Barnsley, Liverpool, Manchester, Nuneaton, Oxford, Swindon, Kent, and London.


The logistics sector provides such services as logistics & supply chains, logistics management, 3rd party logistics services, freight forwarding, packaging, warehousing, storage and distribution, corporate logistics, and pallet trucks.

To sum up

The e-commerce market in the UK is well-developed. Nevertheless, it is still quite an absorbent market. So knowing the above tips, it will be a little easier to enter the market. Thanks to some insights from above, you would understand the UK market more, so you can take advantage of this huge market. 

Now you know what kind of consumers British are and which payment methods are the favorites ones. So feel free to use this information and hit the ground running.