A most dynamic market for e-commerce, the United Kingdom is a rather large and very solvable market for online shopping. Dominated by the great American e-commerce companies, the UK still has some space for some strong local companies, both established stores, and pure e-commerce players.
The British internet and e-commerce landscape can be compared to the United States: even though it only has 63 million internet users, a fraction of the US digital population, the wealth of the Brits and their habits of using e-commerce make the UK one of the most sophisticated e-commerce market. The Brits use both computers and mobile devices for online shopping, purchasing a wide array of goods and services on the internet.
Since the UK market is technologically advanced, with high penetration and solvency, competition for online spend is very fierce. Given that American companies have developed an advantage thanks to their home market size and early development in the UK, British e-commerce is under the domination of US platforms operating through multiple segments, especially Amazon and eBay, who are by far the largest e-commerce players in the UK.
However, some traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, like Argos and John Lexis, are still able to take a small share of the market. Some pure e-commerce British players, such as Asos, also have been able to take a share of the market by focusing on some key categories, such as fashion.
List of top British e-commerce platforms with estimated traffic
To give you more perspective of the state of the market competition in the British e-commerce landscape, here are the current top 10 leaders of e-commerce platforms in the UK in 2019 and their estimated monthly traffic from SimilarWeb, as of March 2019.
Debenhams is a chain of department stores selling a range of clothing, household items and furniture in more than 170 stores and through its website. Founded in 1778, Debenhams has expanded throughout the country and opened stores in Ireland, and Denmark through the acquisition of Magasin du Nord.
Website: debenhams.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 14.2 Million visits
9. Currys PC World
Originally an electrical retailer, Currys specializes in selling home electronics and household appliances through the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Recently combined with PC World by its owner, Dixons Carphone, Currys PC World also provides an e-commerce platform to sells household and telecommunications appliances online.
Website: currys.co.uk – Estimated monthly traffic: 17.4 Million visits
8. John Lewis & Partners
John Lewis & Partners is a chain of high-end department stores that operates throughout the United Kingdom, and in Ireland and Australia through local concessions. Operating with more than 50 stores in the UK, John Lewis has also become a leading online seller of home and electrical appliances, fashion, beauty, baby, sports accessories, etc.
Website: johnlewis.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 20.3 Million visits
7. Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer is a leading retailer that specializes in selling clothing, home products, and luxury food products. Founded in 1884, Marks & Spencer is firmly present in the UK and Ireland. To further its growth M&S has launched a new round of development by opening brick-and-mortar stores in Europe and Asia as well as selling online through its own website and with a partnership with German e-commerce store Zalando.
Website: marksandspencer.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 23.7 Million visits
The world’s third largest retailer and one of the largest companies in the UK, Tesco operates hypermarkets and convenience stores. Through its brick-and-mortar stores and its e-commerce platform, Tesco sells groceries, home and hygiene products as well as clothing, and financial and telecommunications services.
Website: tesco.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 25.5 Million visits
Asda is a leading retailer in the UK, owned by the American retail giant Walmart, who is one of the top e-commerce platforms in the United States. Besides its supermarket where it sells groceries and various consumer, clothing and home products, Asda is also a financial service and mobile phone provider, which are also on offer online through Asda’s e-commerce platform.
Website: asda.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 25.6 Million visits
Argos is a catalog retailer also operating more than 800 shops in the United Kingdom and Ireland. A subsidiary of the British retailer Sainsbury’s, Argos sells electronics, home and garden products, clothing, toys and sports equipment, and more. Besides its more traditional operations, Argos has also become a leader in e-commerce in the UK.
Website: argos.co.uk – Estimated monthly traffic: 51.2 Million visits
Asos is a specialized online men and women fashion and cosmetics retailer. Launched in 2000, Asos has expanded throughout the years to multiple countries of Europe and Asia. The leading British company in the UK e-commerce market, Asos now employs more than 3000 employees.
Website: asos.com – Estimated monthly traffic: 54.3 Million visits
2. eBay UK
A pioneer of e-commerce, Ebay is an American online marketplace that allows people and businesses to sell directly through its online auction platform. Founded in 1995, eBay has expanded to more than 20 countries including the UK, organizing the sale of products ranging from cars and vehicles to electronics and fashion, home and garden to sports and toys, and even business and industrial products.
Website: ebay.co.uk – Estimated monthly traffic: 355.5 Million visits
1. Amazon UK
Founded in the US in 1994, Amazon started as an online bookstore that later diversified to products including media, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. Having expanded to many countries, including the UK, Amazon has become the uncontested global leader of e-commerce and developed further into brick-and-mortar retail with the acquisition of Whole Foods Market, as well as publishing, electronics, cloud computing, video streaming, and production.
Website: amazon.co.uk – Estimated monthly traffic: 446.5 Million visits
Top e-commerce websites in the UK compared by estimated traffic
The estimated monthly traffic from the top 10 e-commerce platforms previously listed demonstrate the domination of Amazon and eBay, who stand far above the other players, respectively above 440 and 350 million monthly visits. The pack of followers is well established in the range of traffic volumes from 10 to 60 million visits per month.
Top brand conducting business through e-commerce in the UK
Besides these platforms operating through a wide array of products, a brand can also be highlighted for particularly standing out, thanks to its importance in the British economy. Even though it is not an open platform, O2 still manages to sell mobile phones and various telecommunication products and services on its website. It still weighs quite heavily in the British e-commerce landscape, making large portions of its sales online with over 22 million visits per month.
Here are the top e-commerce platforms in the UK. Have you ever bought goods or services from them? How was the experience, is the price cheaper and the delivery convenient? Let us know in the comments below!