Continued e-commerce growth leaves British high street spending lowest in Europe

LONDON, 7th December, 2018 - As online shopping continues to grow, the UK now has the lowest proportion of high street spending in Europe.

According to new research by Mastercard, just 43% of all money spent (volume) is done physically in stores, while online commerce – in all its’ forms – accounts for more than half.

Of the 57% of volumes spent online, almost half of this (27%) is made up by spending on mobile devices, according to data from a pan-European survey of more than 18,000 people.

The shift to online commerce correlates with Mastercard’s own spending tracker: online shopping will see the strongest sales growth of the holiday season, up 11.1% year-on-year according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

Proportion of spend per transaction type (based on mean values):

  • Physically in store: 43%

  • Online via PC or laptop: 30%

  • Smartphone or tablet - at home or work: 20%

  • Smartphone or tablet - elsewhere: 7%

Janne Karppinen, Head of Retail at Mastercard UK, said: “Technology will have an increasingly important role in helping retailers woo shoppers back to the high street. The most successful stores are always gearing themselves around the overall shopping experience. These shops are becoming places to interact and personalise products rather than simply a place to buy things. We expect to see this trend to grow as smaller retailers realise they can offer something the online world can’t.”

The most popular products being purchased through m-commerce are clothes and accessories, with just over half of British adults having bought them (55%). Food and beverage is the next most popular category, with 45% of UK shoppers having made a mobile purchase – the highest in Europe.

Products UK shoppers have purchased via mobile (percentage of population):

  • Clothing and accessories: 55%

  • Food and beverage: 45%

  • Books: 43%

  • Healthcare and beauty: 37%

  • Electronics and appliances: 36%

  • Public transport: 36%

  • Travel (hotels, flights etc): 35%

  • Tickets (concerts, theatre, cinema): 33%

  • Parking tickets: 17%

80% of British shoppers have made a mobile purchase from the comfort of their sofa, but as many as 6% have made a purchase while they are in the bath.


Notes to editors

 Proportion of spend across Europe (percentage)

Physically in store51504453534350575356445953
Online via PC or laptop24262428223025242420292019
Smartphone or tablet – at home or work17182314172016131617171520
Smartphone or tablet – elsewhere77868797771058

About the European Mobile Commerce Study

This online-representative survey was conducted by market research company Innofact in the following countries: France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Spain and the UK. In the time from November 14 to November 19, Innofact interviewed a total of 18,174 people via online panels across all markets (approx. 1,500 per market), being 18 years or older.

About Mastercard SpendingPulse

A macro‐economic indicator, Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, including cash and cheque. Mastercard SpendingPulse does not represent Mastercard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCardAdvisors, the professional services arm of Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard SpendingPulse reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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