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

Image: Adobe Stock

Image: Adobe Stock

The UK is the third most shopped market for international online purchases, topped only by China and the US.

The Global Voices 2021: Cross-Border Shopper Insights survey of more than 22,000 consumers across 11 countries showed 20% of non-UK consumers have shopped from UK retail sites in the past year. 

The research also found that 59% of consumers surveyed purchased from online brands or marketplaces in China, with 51% reporting they had purchased from US based sites. 

Overall, more than 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, believes Tommy Kelly, CEO cross-border ecommerce technology and services provider, eShopWorld (ESW), which carried out the research.

“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,” he says. “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.  

Kelly adds: “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.”

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