January 15, 2014, 10:14 AM

Tablets help propel U.K. e-commerce in 2013

Online shoppers in the U.K. spent 91 billion pounds (US$148.78 billion) last year, up 16% from 2012. Those shoppers more often are buying via tablets and smartphones—and often picking up their web orders inside stores.

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Online shoppers in the United Kingdom spent 91 billion pounds (US$148.78 billion) in 2013, up 16% from their e-commerce spending in 2012, according to the figures released today by technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group, or IMRG.

That increase includes an 18% year-over-year increase in e-retail spending in December, to 11 billion pounds (US$17.98 billion).

"With online shopping having become part of our everyday lives, the growth levels we are seeing in the e-retail market won't be slowing down any time soon,” says Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG.

For 2014, the two firms predict that e-commerce spending in the United Kingdom will increase by 17% year over year, hitting 107 billion pounds (US$174.98 billion). For 2013, IMRG and Capgemini had forecast 12% year-over-year growth, four percentage points lower than the final estimate.

The United Kingdom is the largest e-commerce market in Europe, and four of the top 10 European e-retailers are based in the U.K., according to the Europe 500, Internet Retailer’s ranking of the region’s leading web merchants.

The two organizations also report that:

• U.K. sales via smartphones and tablets increased 138% year over year in 2013. 82% of mobile sales came from tablets.

• Smartphones sales increased 186% year over year, while tablets sales increased 131%.

• In December, 27% of all online sales stemmed from mobile devices, which equates to nearly 3 billion pounds (US$4.90 billion). That represents an approximately 100% increase from the year before.

• Also in December, online sales of clothing increased 18% year over year, with consumer electronic sales growing by 18%—thanks in part to sales of relatively cheap tablets, iPhones and video game devices.

• Consumers purchasing products online and picking them up inside stores now account for 25% of sales for bricks-and-mortar retailers in the United Kingdom.

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