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International research update: from how more international shoppers bought from UK merchants this Christmas, to how more UK merchants offered international currencies

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More cross-border shoppers bought from UK retailers during peak trading

UK retailers sold almost a third (31%) more goods to shoppers buying across borders over the Christmas peak trading period, new Global-e data suggests. That’s a step up from the previous year, when 22.6% more cross-border shoppers bought.

Fashion was the category most likely to be ordered by international shoppers – orders were up by 58% in the run up to Christmas 2018, compared to the previous month.

Orders came primarily from the US, where shoppers placed 22% of pre-Christmas orders. Irish and Australian shoppers each placed 9% of orders, and French shoppers 7%. Online visitors from South Korea (4%) and China (3%) also placed orders. Global-e said the rise in sales started in the week before Black Friday – between November 12 and 18 – and continued to increase during the following, Black Friday, week. 

Nir Debbi, co-founder and CRO at cross-border ecommerce solutions provider Global-e, said: “With busy seasonal shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday continuing to spread to many markets worldwide, it’s clear that online shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy about finding the best promotions and discounts. With cross-border ecommerce rising in popularity for many consumers, providing international shoppers with a localised shopping experience as well as tailoring online sales and promotions to global and local shopping peaks are imperative for merchants looking to capitalise on this opportunity.”

More UK merchants offering international payment options

More of the UK’s leading retailers are now offering shoppers the option of paying in international currencies, according to new research from Visualsoft – which suggests the increase may be part of preparations for Brexit. 

The ecommerce and digital agency examined the payment options offered by 250 leading UK retailers and found that 81% were offering the option of paying in currencies other than sterling. That was up on the 62% that offered international payments in 2017. Most offer euros and US dollars as alternative currencies, while 1% of the retailers studied offered the option of paying in Chinese yen. 

Other alternative payment methods were also being brought into play. Some 10% of top retailers were using Amazon Pay, while a further one in 10 retailers were offering retail finance products from lenders such as Klarna. That’s grown from almost nothing in 2017. 

Despite this, 23% of websites offered no payment choice beyond a credit or debit card – a 4% increase on the previous year. 

“These figures suggest proactivity in the lead-up to Brexit and adoption of new payment trends, which is great to see,” said Dale Higginbottom, head of CRO at Visualsoft. “However, we know that up to a quarter of consumers also abandon their transactions at checkout because the retailer doesn’t provide their payment method of choice. Offering a wide range of options is an important way for retailers to maximise their sales potential, but too many are still not doing so – with 23% neglecting an offer outside traditional cards.”

Image: Fotolia 

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