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Sales from mobile devices beat pre-pandemic highs by 47% to hit £19.8bn this Christmas

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Shoppers are forecast to spend £19.8bn using their smartphones and tablets this festive season, up 47% on 2019 which is the first comparative year, according to new data  


The Shopping for Christmas 2021 report, shows mcommerce transactions (purchases made via mobile devices) are on track to rise £6.3bn from 2019, suggesting Covid has had a huge positive impact on mobile spending across the UK. 


Purchases made on all mobile devices are expected to account for 61.3% of UK online sales this Christmas, which are forecast to reach £32.3bn. This compares to 62.6% in 2020 and 60.6% in 2019. Continuing the trend we’ve seen over the past few years, mcommerce will also out-do sales forecast for PCs – this year PCs are predicted to make up 38.7% of total online sales, or £12.5bn. 


This is in part due to the number of smartphone users continuing to rise – smartphone ownership in the UK has risen by 1.7% since 2020. Although tablet ownership continues to decrease year-on-year (-0.5%), Brits are predicted to spend £7.6bn on these devices this year, making up 23.6% of all online sales.  


Smartphone transactions are projected to take the largest share of mcommerce spend this year – with 37.7% of all online purchases being made on mobile phones (£12.2bn). It’s also likely to be supported by the fact many retailers have now invested in their mobile shopping experience, creating sites that are optimised for a mobile device and offering easy payment methods for online shopping such as PayPal and mobile wallets. 


When compared to last year, mcommerce purchases dip 10.4% from the £22.1bn spent in 2020 – the closure of non-essential retailers meant shoppers had to do most of their Christmas spending online which in turn translated to a massive rise in spending on mobile devices. 

Maureen McDonagh, Managing Director at, comments: “As many consumers get back to Christmas shopping on their local high-street or shopping centre, it is great that total mcommerce sales are expected to dramatically outperform the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Online shopping habits have definitely changed for good and, with many retailers having invested heavily in giving consumers a great mobile shopping experience, this trend is likely to continue.”

McDonagh concludes: “This 46.5% increase in spending from 2019 to 2021 suggests people are becoming accustomed to spending on their tablet or smartphone. Consumers have adapted to shopping online from the comfort of their homes during the pandemic – and with the new Omnicom COVID variant it’s likely hesitation around fully returning to shops will continue throughout the winter months.”  

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