A Snapshot of the 2020 UK Market

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A new report shows that, in the UK market, travel may be slow to recover but social buying and m-commerce are picking up.

Understanding consumer behavior is tricky these days. In unpredictable times, cause people to do things that are out of character.

Sometimes changing behavior is good for business. Witness the ASICS consumer survey that found that not only are people in the UK taking up jogging in droves, but 72% of UK of runners told Asics that they want to continue running.

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Travel takes a hit

But changing behavior of late has been hard on lots of businesses too. Some, like travel, face particular challenges. Forecasters say the UK travel industry can expect to bounce back in late 2021. Still, digital travel sales have taken a major hit with the industry projected to take a 45% drop in sales.

Brighton Pier

For businesses to weather this storm they’ll need to appeal to consumers who are likely to take a “staycation” this year. Travel may become more localized as short distance getaways and virtual experiences replace international vacations.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The travel industry is traditionally one of the first to be hit by economic downturns and one of the last to recover. What may come as a surprise is the uptick in social shopping in the UK market.

Social shopping grows in 2020 in the UK market

Research company, eMarketer is projecting that 10 million people in the UK will engage in social shopping in 2020. That’s over a quarter of social network users in the UK who will engage in social shopping. And, that represents a 13% jump in the number of social buyers in the UK. The number is expected to climb for years to come topping out a 14.7 million social shoppers in the UK by 2023.

UK Coffee Shop

This suggests that brands that want to sell in the UK market need to invest in enabling social shopping. If you’re hoping to sell to UK consumers in the coming years, take the friction out of the buying process and prepare for a growing number of customers to buy from their social networks.

M-commerce also on the rise in the UK market

Along with making it easier to buy from social networks, it is imperative that those in e-commerce make their products easy to purchase via mobile devices if they want to sell in the UK. M-commerce will make up £61.14 billion ($78.03 billion) in sales in 2020, roughly half of all e-commerce sales.

UK street scene, mobile phone user

The trend toward M-commerce, like social shopping, is expected to continue to increase over the coming years. By 2024, m-commerce sales are expected to be 20.2% of total retail sales in the UK market. Put another way, one of every 5 pounds earned from sales will come from someone who purchased through their phone.

While 2020 has been a fairly grim year to date for businesses, these trends mean that businesses who take the time now to make their social and mobile shopping experiences top-notch will be well-positioned to bounce back.