UK third most popular market globally for online cross-border shopping

Mar 8, 2021 | E-commerce

Cross-channel inconsistency remains consumers biggest promotional pain point
The UK is the third most shopped market for international online purchases, topped only by China and the US, according to new data.

The research from eShopWorld (ESW) quizzed more than 22,000 consumers across eleven countries.

It found:

  • 20% of non-UK consumers have shopped from UK retail sites in the past year. 59% of consumers surveyed purchased from online brands or marketplaces in China, with 51% reporting they had purchased from US based sites
  • The top five global markets for cross-border purchases from the UK were Australia (37%), the United States (29%), Germany (26%), France (24%) and Singapore (23%)
  • Other markets in the survey made fewer purchases from the UK – Mexico (6%), Russia (8%), Chile (10%), Turkey (16%) and Canada (17%) – however, cross-border penetration in those markets indicates potential for untapped growth for UK retail businesses

The Global Voices 2021: Cross-Border Shopper Insights survey of more than 22,000 consumers across eleven countries showed 20% of non-UK consumers have shopped from UK retail sites in the past year. 59% of consumers surveyed purchased from online brands or marketplaces in China, with 51% reporting they had purchased from US based sites. Overall, over two thirds (68%) of shoppers surveyed made ecommerce purchases outside their home country in 2020.

The top five global markets for cross-border purchases from the UK were Australia (37%), the United States (29%), Germany (26%), France (24%) and Singapore (23%). Other markets in the survey made fewer purchases from the UK – Mexico (6%), Russia (8%), Chile (10%), Turkey (16%) and Canada (17%) – however, cross-border penetration in those markets indicates potential for untapped growth for UK retail businesses.

The high percentage of cross-border purchasing from Britain reflects the desirability of British brands and products to global consumers, commented Tommy Kelly, CEO of ESW.

“Our survey data shows that that people are increasingly embracing international ecommerce as more retailers and brands eliminate friction by offering convenience within the buying journey, and adding capabilities such as click and collect, return to store and guaranteed delivery date. People are still restricted in their ability to travel and shop in person around the world, and cross-border ecommerce continues to be an attractive alternative for these shoppers.”

Shoppers from three of the markets, Russia, Mexico and Turkey, that purchased from the UK the least reported spending the most annually on cross-border purchases, highlighting the revenue potential for UK brands willing to invest in these markets.

Tommy Kelly commented further: “Our research shows shoppers in Russia, Mexico and Turkey are spending far more on average on cross-border purchases making a clear business case for UK retailers and brands to look beyond their traditional markets to tap the potential revenue latent in these emerging markets. To reap the benefits of this demand, retailers need to offer localised shopping experiences where ecommerce customers in these markets feel as if they are receiving the same level of service and convenience they would enjoy if shopping locally.”

Brands partnering with ESW can enter new international markets in as few as six weeks, up to six times faster than if they attempted to do so on their own – all while engaging directly with customers and retaining ownership of all the data collected during the shopping process.

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