Close this search box.

2020 sees mcommerce in UK grow by 30%, with social commerce set to drive growth in 2021

Social media and more is going to play a key role in 'new' retail

2020 was the biggest mobile shopping year to date, with consumers collectively spending 82 billion hours in shopping apps – 30% up from 2019. The UK also experienced a 30% growth compared to 2019.

Breakout retail apps in the UK included Amazon, with a 55% YoY growth, Tesco Groceries with 150% YoY growth and SHEIN with a 490% YoY growth.

So finds App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report, which also shows that there is still more mobile growth to come for retailers, with social commerce via Pinterest, Instagram and others set to go mainstream and live shopping showing increasing signs of budding interest. Combined, social commerce and live shopping are poised to be a $2 trillion market by 2024.

The mobile retail boom also saw 2020 become a breakthrough year for food and drink apps: Ordering in was not just an alternative for much of 2020, it was the law in many countries. As a result, food delivery and takeout apps flourished. Users clocked up an estimated 128 billion sessions in Food and Drink apps in 2020. In some countries the year-over-year growth was staggering with the UK at 55%.

Mobile has also reorganised banking, investment and finance, the study shows, with time spent in finance apps during 2020 up 45% worldwide outside of China.

Total downloads reached 4.6 billion. Within this space, one of the most vibrant sub-markets was investment and trading, including crypto and bitcoin.

Apps such as Metatrader 4, Binance and eToro helped to grow time spent in trading apps by 55% year over year.

Mobile finance was also a dominant use case among millennials in the UK. Among similar rankings in the UK, millennials were most likely to use apps such as Halifax Banking and Barclays Mobile Banking.

Mobile supports the at-home revolution

Mobile has transformed how people live in lockdown, with the study showing that time spent on mobile has grown 25% across last year, hitting an average of 4 hours 10 minutes a day.

Apps are displacing TV, with Americans spending 8% more time on mobile than watching live TV per days. In the UK, time spent in 2019 verses 2020 on streaming apps was at 10% YoY growth.

Mobile gaming remains the biggest category in the app market. The gaming market is on track to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 — that’s 1.5-times more than other gaming platforms combined.

While Gen Z has never known a world without smartphones, the ongoing pandemic has made all generations increasingly more reliant on mobile over the last year. 

With ongoing global lockdowns, global time spent in business apps grew 275% year-over-year in Q4 2020 alone. In some regions the switch was even more remarkable. Argentinians upped their time spent in business apps by 575% across the year. In Turkey this was 640% year over year. In the UK, YoY growth was 55%.

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on