UK is leading worldwide ecommerce market penetration, says Mastercard

The UK experienced the highest degree of ecommerce penetration worldwide in 2021, according to a new report from MasterCard.

Among the 15 leading markets covered, the UK came first with 26.6% of its total retail sales coming from ecommerce as of 1 September 2021. This was down from 29.1% on 1 January 2021. Pre-pandemic, in January 2020, its ecommerce share was at 21.2% and at its peak in May 2020, ecommerce represented nearly a third of total retail sales.

Singapore came second in the MasterCard global e-commerce rankings at 26.6%, which was up from 25.8% at the beginning of 2021. Before the pandemic this was around 20%.

Third on the list was New Zealand with 20.2% of its total retail sales going to e-commerce, peaking at 30% in April 2020. Canada and the US were significantly behind these figures with 18.5% and 15.7% respectively in September 2021.

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Therefore, despite high street numbers increasing, global ecommerce sales have seen a jump that has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Our results show that the share of online transactions increased more in countries with higher pre-pandemic levels of digital maturity,” MasterCard said in its report.

“This has further widened the digital divide across countries and highlights an economy’s digital resilience. When incomes are higher, the share of online spend is higher.

“This helps explain why some countries have more online share than others, while things like government spending, trade, population density also influence a country’s spending online. These factors were even more pronounced during the pandemic.”

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