Ecommerce in the UK grew 17.8% in 2016, compared to a 14.6% increase in retail overall, and was worth 174 billion euros or approximately $205 billion, according to a survey conducted by the Ecommerce Foundation.
The increase was higher than the past couple of years (14.6% and 10.9%, respectively, in 2015 and 2014) and back on track with growth in 2013. It also outpaced the U.S. ecommerce growth rate of 15.6% in 2016, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The survey found 82% of UK internet users shopped online last year. For 2017, the foundation is forecasting 13.4% growth, reaching 197 billion euros or approximately $231 billion at the current exchange rate.
According to the Ecommerce Foundation, online sales at department stores were up almost 20%, outpacing stores selling groceries (14.1%) and household goods (11.8%). The total number of online shoppers in the UK increased to over 57 million in 2016,
Almost half of the survey respondents said they always or very frequently purchase books online, and 57% said they’re willing to buy them exclusively online. Electronics, household equipment and fashion are also popular online categories, the survey found. About 22% of respondents said they always or very often purchase food online.
The study found 15% of UK businesses sold direct to customers in 2016, the same as in 2015.