Clothing and footwear will dominate e-retail spend in the UK in the years to 2022

Clothing and footwear will dominate e-retail spend in the UK in the years to 2022

Clothing and footwear are set to be the biggest contributors to growth of the UK online shopping market in the years to 2022, according to a new report, which also suggests the two categories will also account for 70% of all online returns.

The research by retail analyst GlobalData says the two sectors are set to drive e-retail spend to GBP68.8bn (US$93bn) by 2022, a rise of 35%. GlobalData's 'E-retail in the UK 2017-2022' report also reveals in the last 12 months 78% of the UK population has shopped online, with the prime drivers being convenience and the lure of lower prices.

The report also suggests smartphones will become consumers' channel of choice as mobile spend rises 112% over the next five years. This trend will be driven by improvements in retailers' own mobile functionality together with the prominence of a 'see now, buy now', instant gratification consumer mentality.

"Our E-retail report shows online shopper penetration for 16-34 year olds above 90%, affirming the importance of the online channel for younger consumers," explains Sofie Wilmott, senior retail analyst at GlobalData. "Online pureplays including Amazon and Asos continue to innovate introducing new technology and driving up consumer expectations of delivery and user experience, requiring multi-channel players to quickly follow suit to maintain their relevance."

But while clothing and footwear account for a large proportion of online spend, they will also carry the highest rate of returns which are forecast to grow at practically the same rate as online spend over the next five years. Clothing and footwear will makeup 70% of all online returns by 2022.

"Despite the online channel providing a lifeline to bricks and clicks retailers experiencing tough offline sales, e-retail still imposes significant challenges, including the management of returned stock. Online returns will continue to rise over the next five years as consumers become more experienced and confident in managing the free and simple returns processes, combined with increased availability of online delivery saver schemes," says Wilmott.