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RX GLOBAL REPORT 2023 United Kingdom

The latest RetailX Global ecommerce 2023 report provides a global overview of online shopping behaviour around the world. It includes a look at the UK in which it highlights its many underlying strengths, but notes there’s a sense of drift as the country waits for a general election.

The UK’s Conservative government of 13 years is currently led by its third prime minister in 18 months – Rishi Sunak – following last year’s resignations of both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. The British economy is marked by stubbornly high inflation – at 4.7% in October 2023 – and interest rates – which rose to 5.25% as of August 2023

The UK population stood at an estimated 67.7mn people in 2022, the same year that GDP grew by 4.1% as it recovered from the 11% decline during the pandemic. IMF and UN figures say that per capita GDP rose to $55.13k in 2022 from $49.89 in 2021.

Internet access is high – Eurostat/ITU data puts it at 97% – with 81.88% of these also shopping online. Ecommerce revenues were 27.1% higher in 2022 than in 2018, reflecting slowing growth in a mature market. 26.5% of retail sales took place online in May 2023. 

Ecommerce sales grew by 7.7% in value compared to the previous year, while retail sales across channels grew by 4.8% in value but declined by 2.1% in volume – reflecting the effect of inflation.

Groceries, bought by 62% of respondents to RetailX Consumer Observatory research, and fashion and accessories (61%) are among the most popular ecommerce categories.

Home delivery (47%) and lower prices (42%) are key reasons for shopping online. Home delivery is the most popular option for receiving goods, used by with 80% of respondents.

There is currently an end-of-days atmosphere surrounding British politics, with Britons complaining “nothing works”. Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak’s recent announcements to slow the country’s move to net zero and cancel much of the HS2 northsouth rail link have caused disquiet across business sectors. The worry is that the UK, in the wake of Brexit, is once again showing itself to be unreliable.

This profile was authored by Jonathan Wright and appears in the RetailX Global ecommerce 2023 report. One of RetailX’s flagship publications, it is aimed both at those already trading in different markets and at those considering expanding into regional markets where the challenge is to compete with established businesses. Download it in full here.

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