A very interesting report was published by IMRG a few weeks ago in regards to UK Online sales exceeding £130 billion in 2016, fueled mainly by sales growth on smartphones. The IMRG is the UK’s online retail association – a membership community offering neutral and unique resources for online retailers.

The report provides evidence of £133bn being spent online with UK retailers in 2016, which is almost £18bn more than the amount spent online in 2015 online. This also means that the Index registered growth is nearer 16% and slightly higher than the previous years although 2010 still remains the highest.

As Bhavesh Unadkat, Principal Consultant in Retail Customer Engagement Designfor Capgemini noted: “2016 was a turbulent year with a number of predictions for retail and beyond going against the status quo.  Regardless, it was still a record breaking year for online sales – up 16% on 2015.  Few would have anticipated the decline in sales made on tablets, but with sales made through overall mobile devices generating over 50% of visits, combined with the sweeping growth of both visits and conversions from smartphones, mobile continues to head towards being the number one sales channel. 

“2017 will be filled with a level of uncertainty depending on the progress and impact of Brexit, however with the investment retailers are making in improving the customer shopping experience, I am sure it will be another record breaking year for online sales.”

Some of the most interesting facts that can seen from the report are:

  • Online sales during 2016 up 16% compared with 2015
  • £25bn spent online in the run up to Christmas, between 13th November and 24th December
  • Sales made on smartphones drive growth, up 47% YoY in December


The market is showing a slight increase towards online sales mainly fueled by the extensive use of smartphones nowadays for all purposes and increasingly purchasing. This is however contradictory to market trends the past few years and it remains to be seen whether the market trend will continue.

However, it is also important to note here, that despite this being a significant increase year on year, it is also crucial to be noted that online sales currently represent only just 5% of sales in the UK and hence there is a long way to go yet to be able to say we are a “fully digital society”. Nonetheless, all the signs are there and encouraging for companies and brands that are already tapping into the digital opportunities out there.

Having attended the Tech Nation event recently in Cambridge, organised by Cambridge Network, it is also interesting to note here the substantial growth in the Digital Market in the UK (And especially Cambridge where we are based). Tech City UK, produces a comprehensive analysis of the UK digital sector in its annual reports. With a world-leading university, the country’s most mature technology ecosystem, and the presence of major multinationals, Cambridge is a leading digital tech cluster and provides an increasing number of new technologies to the UK market hence also assisting in smartphone sales to a large capacity.

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Nicholas is a social entrepreneur, passionate marketeer, career + life coach, consultant, speaker, and community builder. He does this through 1-on-1 coaching, non-profit and businesses consulting, and on a larger scale as Co-founder + Managing Director of CFM Group. He is an internationally recognized strategist, coach, speaker and in the process of writing his 1st book. Possessing over 13 years’ experience in helping clients realise their potential through clarifying their vision, message and market to design the strategies and roadmaps needed to succeed. Utilising this extensive background in strategic planning, pitch and message design, marketing and communications, executive and speaker coaching was his pathway to founding www.CFMGroup.co.uk. His knowlegde was fundamental in building the company with an investment capital of £1 and a large social impact community and professional development hub in Cambridge, UK. Feel free to comment on any of our articles that interests you or message our CEO directly at Nick@CFMGroup.co.uk ! We hope you enjoy our blog !

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