UK online retail sales reached £133bn in 2016, an increase of £18bn, or 15.9%, year-on-year.

Mobile commerce accounted for much of this growth, with sales made via smartphones increasing 47% YoY in December.

In total £25bn was spent online in the run up to Christmas between November 13 and Christmas Eve.

The data, published today in the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, shows that the rate of growth in 2016 surpassed that of the previous two years.

Index growth rates

Looking at the split across sectors, accessories and lingerie saw the biggest increases in online sales, up 38% and 33% respectively.

Gifts (+26%) and footwear (+21%) also exceeded the index’s annual growth rate, while the health and beauty sector saw a drop of 3% YoY.

Tablets no longer in favour

Though sales made on smartphones showed strong growth, shoppers seem to be losing interest in their iPads, with sales made on tablets down by 3% YoY.

Furthermore, smartphones accounted for 54% of sales made on mobile devices (if you consider tablets a mobile device) in December, up from 39% in December 2015.

This won’t come as a surprise to most ecommerce professionals. For example, Stuart McMillan, deputy head of ecommerce at Schuh, tweeted several useful stats about the decline of tablet traffic last year.

Global shipments of tablet devices were predicted to decline by 9.6% in 2016 compared to 2015, so the trend towards smartphone shopping looks likely to continue apace.

More stats

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