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International customers still demand UK wares: study

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The appetite for British exports continues to grow despite Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, new eBay research suggests.

Small businesses trading on the marketplace still detect a strong appetite from international customers for British products, which are seen as being high quality.

Of the 200,000 small businesses that trade on eBay, 93% export, according to the marketplace’s eBay for Business Index, published this week. And a quarter (24%) say that overseas consumers are now more likely to buy British than they were a year ago, and are putting plans in place to support that. In 2016, the Office for National Statistics estimated that Britain exported goods worth £550bn.

The study found that overseas shoppers buy British for a variety of reasons, from positive perceptions around the quality of goods and services, expectations of good customer service and even the link to institutions such as the BBC and the Royal Family.

It also finds that the US, Australia, Germany, France and Italy are the top five export markets for British goods sold via eBay, with the most popular categories including clothes, shoes, accessories, vehicle parts, mobile phones, homewares, furniture and DIY.

Gareth Jones, marketing director at eBay in the UK said: “Small business exports have had a strong twelve months, powered by the lower pound but crucially by the power of ‘Brand Britain’. The UK is going through a period of change that has led to fears that our image abroad could be harmed. But the business fundamentals of Brand Britain remain strong: trusted, quality products and good customer service.

“Small businesses are benefiting from this association and boosting their export plans to take advantage. This is good news for the economy and for eBay in the UK, which hosts over 200,000 of these enterprises, giving access to a global customer base of over 164m people.”

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