The UK e-commerce market has long been a global leader, with reasonable wealth in the country, rapid adoption of technology, and supermarkets and department stores joining the online shopping revolution early in the piece. This early entry into the e-commerce space means that the UK has long enjoyed a culture of online shopping, and this culture has driven e-commerce innovation and high tech adoption amongst businesses and consumers.
While the retail sector is slowing down in the UK, the e-commerce market reached 175 billion euros in 2018, and that figure is expected to reach 200 billion by the close of this year.
While many of the leading e-commerce sites in the UK are local sister sites from their US parents, the local UK e-commerce market still flourishes, thanks to a number of large retailers, a wide selection of niche e-commerce sites and excellent consumer market conditions: 95 percent of people are online, and an estimated 87 per cent shopping online.
Conditions for e-commerce business in the UK look favourable and only forecast to get better.
10 Top UK Ecommerce Sites
To gain an understanding of the e-commerce sector in the UK, it helps to know the major players. As of December 2019, the UK top 10 is made up of a mixture of US mega-brands like Amazon and eBay, as well as UK mega-brands from offline retail roots, such as Argos and John Lewis. This is then blended with the e-commerce purists, like Asos, making up the mixture that is typical of e-commerce in the UK.
What’s noticeable is the dominance of marketplaces and brands competing in a broader range of categories. However, it is important to note that beyond the top 10, there is a thriving market for niche sites with a dedicated consumer following.
Using SimilarWeb, we have analysed the top performing e-commerce sites in the UK to bring you the top 10 highest ranking sites.
1. Amazon UK
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 220.7 million
Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s UK site is the highest-ranking e-commerce site in the UK, the 4th highest-ranking site across every category in the UK and the 42nd highest ranking sites in the world.
Starting as an online bookstore, Amazon has risen to super-power, now leading most e-commerce categories from computers and electronics to books and literature and through to TV and movie streaming.
2. eBay UK
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 146.3 million
eBay has long established itself as a marketplace to buy and sell electronics, cars, fashion apparel, collectibles, sporting goods, digital cameras, baby items, coupons, and anything else that people like to buy online.
This wide range of offerings means that it, like Amazon, covers a number of categories and attracts customers from a variety of different demographics.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 33.75 million
Asos is a British online fashion and cosmetics retailer that was founded in 2000 and has since become a fashion e-commerce favourite across the globe, ranking 5th in the lifestyle/fashion and apparel category worldwide.
Today, Asos sells over 850 brands, has its own range of clothing and accessories and ships to all 196 countries from their fulfilment centres in the UK, US and EU. Its market is primarily young adults from any part of the planet.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 26.97 million
Currys PC World started as a computer store and has since branched out to be one of the UK’s largest e-commerce sites covering a significant range of TVs, washing machines, cookers, cameras, laptops, tablets, and more.
With both online and offline store, they offer free home delivery as well as reserve online and collect in-store services. Specialising in the computers electronics and technology/consumer electronics category, they rank 9th in this category.
As the e-commerce market continues to develop and those who’ve resisted begin to change their shopping behaviour to move online, it is the sites most able to cater to all categories and demographics that will retain the consumer spending. This includes sites that offer products through affiliates or through the expansion of their own lines.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 14.85 million
Gumtree was the first site for free classifieds ads in the UK, allowing visitors to buy and sell items from cars all the way through to properties, and even find or offer jobs in the local area.
Today, Gumtree is still the number one classifieds site in the UK, and it is used by one in three adults every month. As a marketplace for buying and selling goods, or sharing jobs or apartments, it is the most ranked in the marketplace category.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 13.44 million
Argos is one of the UK’s leading digital retailers, offering more than 60,000 products online and in-store, covering toys, clothes, electronics, appliances, jewellery, gardening equipment and much more.
Working with leading brands like Bose, Beats, Dyson, LEGO, Nespresso and Samsung, they attract a variety of customers across a broad range of demographics.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 11.03 million
John Lewis covers everything from new season trends in homeware, furniture, and fashion, through to beauty products, electrical items, and even optometry and financing.
Starting in the UK, the online and offline retail giants reach now extends to Australia and the Republic of Ireland. They attract customers across categories with their diverse range of goods.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 9.346 million
Tesco is a UK supermarket chain with 3,400 stores nationwide and a thriving e-commerce arm ranking number one in the UK for the food and drink/groceries category.
In addition to groceries, Tesco has expanded to clothing, banking, telecommunications, and more, making them a competitor across a wide variety of categories, attracting customers from across most demographics.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 8.843 million
Marks & Spencer is the one-stop online department store offering customers a range of items including clothing, home, furniture, beauty, food, wine, flowers and gifts. They provide free delivery, store collections and returns.
Fashion and apparel are where Marks & Spencer shine, but they have also branched out into M&S Bank, M&S Energy, and M&S Opticians, making them a competitor across markets.
Estimated number of monthly visitors: 6.936 million
Asda is an e-commerce store offering fresh groceries, as well as product lines; George Clothing and George Home. They also provide insurance, all delivered to their customer’s door, saving money and time.
Asda is an e-commerce site for families, covering all of their needs in one place. While they offer a range of goods, it is food and drink/grocery category where they rank the highest, coming in at number two.
The UK’s top ecommerce players are made up of a healthy mix of marketplaces, department stores, and specialty retailers. As digital retail continues to mature, we can expect many of these sites to flourish. What remains to be seen, though, is who will stay on the list in the years ahead.