Press release:

Smart shoppers: Brits set to spend a record £25 billion on their phones in 2019

  • £25 billion[1] will be spent on goods ordered from smartphones and tablets this year – £10 billion more than in 2018[2]
  • 30 million Brits[1] will use their phone to shop in 2019 – a 66% rise since 2018[2]
  • More people now buy online using a smart device (58%) than in shopping centres (56%) – and smart devices are now as popular as laptops and desktops for online shopping[3]
  • Two thirds (66%) of smartphone shoppers do so for the convenience while more than a third (36%) say it saves them money[4]
  • Amazon, eBay and Argos are the most popular sites visited[5] while clothes, books, groceries and event tickets are the most commonly bought products.

In 2019, and for the first time ever, consumers will be as likely to use their smartphones to shop as they would using a laptop or desktop[3], according to new research by, the price comparison and switching service.

Shoppers plan to spend £25 billion using their smartphones this year[1], a £10 billion rise on 2018[2]. More than 30 million Brits (58%) will use smart devices to shop this year[2] – an increase of 12 million, or 66%, compared to 2018.

The popularity of smartphone and tablet shopping is being driven by convenience, which two thirds (66%) of shoppers say is the main draw of using a smart device[4]. The ability to shop at any time (64%), compare prices (40%) and the superior choice available (39%) are other strong influencers, while more than a third (36%) believe online shopping represents better value.

Clothes are by far the most popular product bought online (69%)[6], ahead of books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%). The most popular websites used for online shopping, however, are not exclusively clothes retailers – 89% of consumers use Amazon and 63% use eBay[5].

Table: Most popular websites for online shopping[5]


The convenience and the ‘always on’ nature of smartphone shopping means that no matter where people are, they can spend on their phones. The living room is the preferred location for most (78%), but one in seven Brits (14%) sneakily shop at work and nearly a tenth (8%) do so on their daily commute[7].

A notable portion (6%) even admit to shopping on their phone while using the bathroom – with those aged under 35 more than twice as likely to do so (14%). In fact, the bathroom is a more popular place to online shop for younger people than the kitchen (13%)[7].

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.comsays: “For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us at all times, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like. Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips.

“With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25 billion industry, it’s hardly surprising that  major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible. Cleaner user journeys and the ease of one-click purchasing will only add to the number of people shopping on their phones and tablets.

“Providing your phone has a decent connection to either a good broadband supply or 3G or 4G, you can shop any time and any place – and this year more Brits than ever look set to take advantage of that.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,005 UK adults from 14th to 18th December 2018 on behalf of uSwitch. Results have been weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria.


1. Respondents were asked ‘Will you use your smartphone or tablet to shop online in 2019?’ 58% of respondents answered ‘Yes’. Total adults in the UK is 52,078,536. 58% of 52,078,536 is 30,205,551 people who will use a smartphone or tablet to shop online this year.


Respondents were asked ‘How much money do you estimate you will spend online in 2019 using your smartphone or tablet?’ The average answer was £829.30. 30,205,551*829.30 = £25,049,463,344.78

2. Respondents were asked ‘How do you do your shopping?’ 35% of respondents answered ‘Online – smartphone/tablet’. Total adults in the UK is 52,078,536. 35% of 52,078,536 is 18,227,488 people who already use a smartphone or tablet to shop online

30,205,551-18,227,488 = 11,978,063 more people who will shop online using a smartphone or tablet in 2019, a 65.7% increaseRespondents were asked ‘How much money do you estimate you will spend online in 2019 using your smartphone or tablet?’ The average answer was £829.30. 18,227,488*829.30 = £15,116,055,466.68

£25,049,463,344.78-£15,116,055,466.68 = £9,933,407,878.10 increase in online spending on smartphones and tablets this year, a 65.7% increase

3. Respondents were asked ‘How do you do your shopping?’ 56% answered ‘In person – in big shopping centres’. 58% answered ‘Online – laptop/desktop’. 58% answered they will use a smartphone or tablet to shop online in 2019

4. Respondents were asked ‘Why do you shop online?’

Of those who shop on smartphone or tablet:

66% answered ‘More convenient’

64% answered ‘Can shop at any time’

40% answered ‘Easier to compare prices’

39% answered ‘Greater variety of choice’

36% answered ‘Better value’


5. Respondents were asked ‘Which websites have you bought from within the last year?’

89% answered ‘Amazon’

63% answered ‘eBay’

41% answered ‘Argos’

35% answered ‘Tesco’

25% answered ‘Marks and Spencer’

25% answered ‘Asda’

22% answered ‘Sainsbury’s’

20% answered ‘John Lewis’

17% answered Currys PC World


6. Respondents were asked ‘What things have you bought online within the last year?’

69% answered ‘Clothes’

51% answered ‘Books’

47% answered ‘Food and drink – groceries’

43% answered ‘Tickets (theatre, concerts cinema)


7. Respondents were asked ‘Where do you do your online shopping?’

78% answered ‘In my living room’

14% answered ‘At work’

8% answered ‘On my commute’

6% answered ‘In the bathroom’. Of respondents aged 18-34, 14% answered ‘In the bathroom’ while 13% answered ‘In the kitchen’

8. Respondents were asked ‘How do you do your shopping?’

Of respondents aged 18-34, 48% answered ‘In person – in big shopping centres’ and 56% answered ‘In person – in local shops/high street’. Of respondents aged 55+, 60% answered ‘In person – in big shopping centres’ and 78% answered ‘In person – in local shops/high street’

Respondents were asked ‘Will you use your smartphone or tablet to shop online in 2019?’

Of respondents aged 18-34, 78% answered ‘Yes’. Of respondents aged 55+, 36% answered ‘Yes’

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

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