Almost 90% of UK shoppers use Amazon, research reveals

Study by Mintel also finds that more than 25% of British adults are signed up to Prime

Almost 90% of UK shoppers use Amazon and 40% have access to its Prime subscription service, according to research that lays bare the challenge for high street retailers.

Most Amazon shoppers visit the online retailer at least once a month and just under a fifth once a week, underlining the retail dominance Amazon has gained. Its core categories of books, DVDs and video games are still the most popular purchases, according to the market research firm Mintel.

“Amazon is a phenomenon of 21st century retail. In a little over 20 years, it has grown to be a retailer that nearly all consumers use. It has achieved this through a relentless focus on customer-facing investment and innovation,” said Nick Carroll, Mintel’s associate director of retail.

“Amazon started selling books, but now holds a significant share in almost all retail categories, helped by the incubation of thousands of independent sellers through its marketplace scheme.

“The retail giant has expanded far past the bounds of normal retail operations into media streaming, consumer electronics and cloud computing. Amazon has built a platform that customers are both happy to use, and pay for the privilege of doing so via its various subscription services.”

Mintel estimates that as many as 15 million people in the UK, just over a quarter of the adult population, are now signed up to Prime, which costs £7.99 a month for unlimited one-day delivery on many items plus film, TV and music-streaming services. A further 13% of people share access through someone else’s account.

amazon poll

Carroll said Amazon had continued to gain market share by signing up Prime subscribers who spend significantly more than non-members.

Evidence of the extensive use of Amazon in the UK comes amid calls for a change in taxes and other assistance for high street retailers who are struggling to compete with their online rivals.

An influential parliamentary committee published a report last month that urged the government to consider taxing online sales, deliveries and packaging, and cutting property taxes for retailers as part of a package to help revive the UK’s ailing high streets.

Retailers called in November for decisive action from the government after data showed the number of shops, pubs and restaurants lying empty had soared by more than 4,400 in the first six months of this year.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Amazon, which has been widely criticised for paying relatively little tax in the UK and for poor pay and conditions at its warehouses, is often seen as the leader of online retail’s assault on the high street, and in some quarters even the main cause of store closures and job losses. Carroll, however, said Amazon was not “all conquering”.

“Amazon’s growth has no doubt wounded rivals, but it is not the ‘high street killer’ that it is often painted out to be,” he said. “Indeed, even if the retailer accounted for roughly 50% of the online market held by online-only retailers, it would only account for around 9% of all UK retail sales.

“And despite the popularity of online retailing as a whole, the vast majority (82%) of all retail sales in the UK still come through physical stores. This leaves much room for its own growth but equally for rivals to fight back.”


Sarah Butler

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Online shoppers and Amazon Prime Day lift UK retail sales
Small rise confounds City forecasts as even troubled department stores record increase

Julia Kollewe

15, Aug, 2019 @10:40 AM

Article image
Morrisons expands Amazon deal offering delivery in an hour
Shares in Ocado plunge nearly 10% after announcement of new service for Prime Now members

Sarah Butler

16, Nov, 2016 @5:18 PM

Article image
Has Amazon Fresh chosen the prime moment to take on UK supermarkets?
Despite the surge in online groceries Amazon still faces an uphill struggle for market share. It may be easier to just buy a supermarket

Zoe Wood

31, Jul, 2020 @12:35 PM

Article image
Black Friday: shoppers take to their mobile in search of best deals
Little sign of the frenzied in-store scenes of a few years ago, with most sales made online

Sarah Butler

23, Nov, 2018 @6:22 PM

Article image
Amazon launches Dash gadget to let you restock kitchen with a whisper
Dash, available in the US since 2014, will let shoppers reorder groceries by scanning barcode or saying name into microphone

Sarah Butler

28, Jul, 2016 @3:26 PM

Article image
Sainsbury's one-hour delivery service takes on Amazon
Staff on bikes will peddle up to 20 items in south-west London via Chop Chop app, competing with Amazon’s Prime Now

Sarah Butler

26, Sep, 2016 @4:23 PM

Article image
Morrisons expands super-fast Amazon delivery deal
Supermarket to roll out grocery deliveries within one hour across more UK cities

Julia Kollewe

12, Sep, 2019 @9:23 AM

Article image
Amazon and Morrisons expand same-day grocery deliveries
Deal puts pressure on rival supermarkets as online giant moves deeper into UK sector

Sarah Butler

13, Jun, 2019 @12:21 PM

Article image
Amazon Fresh food deliveries 'to start this month in UK'
Online retailer understood to have tested service from east London depot and asked suppliers to begin deliveries within weeks

Sarah Butler

03, May, 2016 @5:57 PM

Article image
Nearly half of toys from third-party online sellers found to be dangerous
UK industry body warns of ‘wild west of safety’ after investigation into toys being sold on major sites

Zoe Wood

05, Oct, 2021 @5:25 PM