Shopping via smartphones and tablets to rise by £10bn, uSwitch survey suggests

News, Retail

Shopping via smartphones and tablets is set to rise by £10 billion since last year as consumers make more visits to online sites than malls for the first time, a survey from uSwitch suggests.

Some 30 million Britons (58%) will use smart devices to shop this year, an increase of 12 million on last year, with spending to reach £25 billion, a rise of 66% on last year, according to the poll by the price comparison website. The findings indicate that more people now buy online using a smart device (58%) than in shopping centres (56%).

Convenience is driving the popularity of smartphone and tablet shopping, with 66% of shoppers citing it as the main draw of using a smart device, while 64% cited the ability to shop at any time, 40% appreciated being able to compare prices and 39% said it provided them with more choice.

Clothes are by far the most popular product bought online (69%), ahead of books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%).

  • £25 billion will be spent on goods ordered from smartphones and tablets this year – £10 billion more than in 2018
  • 30 million Brits will use their phone to shop in 2019 – a 66% rise since 2018
  • More people now buy online using a smart device (58%) than in shopping centres (56%) – and smart devices are now as popular as laptops and desktops for online shopping
  • Two thirds (66%) of smartphone shoppers do so for the convenience while more than a third (36%) say it saves them money
  • Amazon, eBay and Argos are the most popular sites visited while clothes, books, groceries and event tickets are the most commonly bought products

Ru Bhikha, mobiles spokesman at uSwitch, said: “With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25 billion industry, it’s hardly surprising that major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible.

“Cleaner user journeys and the ease of one-click purchasing will only add to the number of people shopping on their phones and tablets.”

Rachel Lund, head of retail insights and analytics at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The BRC-Hitwise monitor shows more than 50% of hits on retailers’ websites coming from mobile phones. The challenge continues to be in driving conversions.

“Smartphones are not a threat to the high street, but an opportunity for retailers able to integrate the physical and digital experience, particularly as shoppers often browse websites whilst in shops.”

Opinium surveyed 2,005 adults online between December 14-18.

Table: Most popular websites for online shopping


% of shoppers to have used website last year









Marks and Spencer






John Lewis


Currys PC World



Chris Price
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