The UK economy is becoming increasingly reliant on online trade as it tries to recover from the double-dip recession. Last year, £68.2 billion was spent on internet retail in the United Kingdom. Search engine optimisation plays a key role in e-commerce, with companies utilising keyword optimisation techniques in order to boost those all-important Google, Yahoo and Bing ratings.
Britain’s online sales market is second only to the United States. In 2012, it is predicted to grow by 13% to £77 billion according to e-commerce trade association IMRG.
The overall internet economy contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2010, making an 8.3% contribution to the overall GDP. That made it bigger than healthcare, education or construction industry contributions.
The latest Office of National Statistics figures for February show that just over £1 in every £10 of money spent on retail in the UK was online. The statistics show that the weekly average of online spending is just over £570 million. The weekly average in February 2011 was just over £430 million.
Researchers at the Boston Consulting Group predict that by 2016, the overall internet economy in the UK will be worth £221 billion thanks to a predicted growth rate of 11%. This far exceeds the likes of the USA and China, whose online economy is expected to grow at 5.4% and 6.9% respectively.
The London Olympics have seen a spike in online trade due to ticket sales, which will add an estimated £600 million to the UK economy.
It is estimated that four out of ten high street shops closing their doors as more and more shoppers choose to make their purchases online. With the internet offering everyday items at the click of a button, the weekly shop could soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Last year nearly 14 million people in the UK used their phones to make online purchases, highlighting the fact that consumers are increasingly looking for the most convenient technology to help them make day-to-day purchases.
However, tablets have now surpassed phones as an easy way to access e-commerce websites. Just over 6% of all online sales in the UK are made from devices such as iPads. That is an increase in tablet traffic of 340% on the previous year. In contrast, phones make up just over 5% of online sales. Smartphone shopping saw an increase of 119% over the last year.
According to a recent YouGov poll of British consumers, the online retailer Amazon is the UK’s favourite brand, whilst traditional retailers Marks and Spencer and John Lewis were fourth and seventh respectively. Amazon generated £3.3 billion in UK sales last year.