UK is biggest online exporter in Europe - Ipsos

The UK has been named as the largest online exporter in Europe, beating Germany and France, and clothing is the most popular category for cross-border shoppers.


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A survey of 34,000 people from 31 countries conducted by Ipso on behalf of PayPal revealed that 14% of global online shoppers have bought goods from the UK in the past 12 months, making Britain the top online exporter in Europe.

British products are particularly popular with American consumers, who spent an estimated £12.5 billion on goods from the UK in the past 12 months – more than any previous year. China comes next, buying an estimated £5.7 billion worth of products during the same period.

And UK sites are also highly valued among European shoppers, with people in in France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden all choosing the UK as one of the ‘top 3’ countries to buy from. 

“As growth in the UK economy remains modest, it’s time for all British businesses to open their doors to the international shopper,” said Nicola Longfield, director of small business at PayPal UK.

“Shoppers from Austria to Australia, Belgium to Brazil have all bought from UK online businesses in the past 12 months. With the UK punching above its weight and leading Europe when it comes to global ecommerce, we hope that other businesses are encouraged to sell their products online and overseas.”

HUNTING FOR BARGAINS

But what drives shoppers to purchase from international retailers? According to the study, it’s because of cheaper prices (72%), a reason that could be behind the rise the UK’s online dominance after the fall in the pound made UK goods more attractive to overseas buyers.

49% of shoppers also browse abroad because certain goods are not available in their own country, to discover new products (34%) and because product quality is higher from overseas (29%).

The most popular category for cross-border purchases is clothing, with 68% of online shoppers buying clothes from abroad in the past year, followed by consumer electronics and toys and hobbies (both 53%), and jewellery and watches (51%). The report also suggests there is potential for more cross-border makeup sales, with 46% of online shoppers buying beauty products from other countries.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for the Department for International Trade, said the report is “great news for Britain”. The government is hoping to grow exports as a percentage of GDP to 35% and is supporting UK firms selling online as part of this ambition.

“The Department for International Trade is making it easier and cheaper for UK firms to sell online to customers around the world – with face-to face support from our eCommerce Advisers, negotiated preferred rates on online marketplaces and information via great.gov.uk,” Fairhead said.

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