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Shoppers spend £18bn via smartphones in 2017, with the UK leading the way

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By the end of this year shoppers will have spent nearly £18bn using a smartphone – more than via a tablet computer, for the first time, according to eMarketer analysis.

According to the figures, 49.7% of all retail m-commerce sales will be made via smartphone in 2017, compared to 49.4% via tablet. The remainder comes from sales via a feature phone. eMarketer also predicts that by 2021, retail sales via smartphone will account for 56% of m-commerce sales.

Up to now, says eMarketer, UK shoppers’ use of tablet computers to buy has been among the highest in Europe. But, it says, growth has levelled off as people move towards large-screen smartphones.

Some 19% of UK retail sales are expected to have taken place online in 2017, estimates eMarketer, accounting for £83.55bn. It says that by 2021, more than a quarter (25.8%) of all retail sales will be digital.

“To put that into context, the proportion in the US will be less than half of the UK total this year, at just 9.0%,” said Bill Fisher, senior analyst at eMarketer. “Indeed, outside of China, the UK is the world’s most advanced retail ecommerce market in terms of proportional sales. And despite, or perhaps because of, the current economic uncertainty in the UK, ecommerce sales continue to post strong growth.”

The figures are part of eMarketer’s UK Retail and Ecommerce report, set to be released later this week.

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