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Editor’s comment – InternetRetailing Magazine, January 2015 (ERM50)

What a busy time of year for retailing in the UK; the run up to Christmas is full of analysis of who will spend how much on what, where they will buy it and whether it needs to be delivered. Now, nearly every day has been renamed from Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Returns Thursday and Panic Saturday.

Every year I watch Black Friday unfold in the US with a wishlist from my California-living nieces. Will this year’s ‘Christmas must-haves’ be discounted over the cyber weekend or are they destined to be full price purchases the following week? What’s also been of interest are the price fluctuations in the run up to Black Friday – have UK retailers followed suit with putting up prices in the run up to the shopping frenzy?

Next, of course is the challenge of purchasing from the UK. Once the presents, prices and retailers have been chosen, it is the gamble of whether the websites will be either capable of taking international orders or just making it hard with US-centric address forms or not able to deliver to the US from a UK-issued credit card. Has Amazon really set such a high benchmark for ease of purchase – and is the same true for shoppers in the US wanting to purchase presents for delivery to the UK?

In this issue of InternetRetailing, we take a look at international and cross-border trading to show that while UK retailers are ruling the cyber waves, it’s not all plain sailing.

According to the 2014 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study, the US, UK and Germany are the most desirable e-destinations for consumers to purchase goods online outside their own country. Work is needed in South Korea, China, India and Japan though where some shoppers believe that they can only purchase goods online from their own country.

Showing the reach of UK brands, research by Hermes found that well over a third of German and French shoppers have bought from the UK, with the country beating China and the US to top the poll. When looking at a wider survey group of online shoppers from 22 countries, PayPal put the UK as third most popular shopping destination for international online shoppers – after the traditional exporting powerhouses of the US and China. Some 17% of global online shoppers buy from the UK, compared to 18% from China and 26% from the US.

Whichever way you look at the various research studies it’s good news for the UK, especially in view of the fact that global cross-border online sales are predicted to grow at 26.6% between 2013 and 2020.

Seven features in this issue of InternetRetailing look at international markets for pureplay and omnichannel retailers. China’s growing international shoppers are covered in two features; Penelope Ody’s ‘Into the Unknown’ and PayPal’s ‘Window on China’. Brendan Pittaway’s insight into ‘European Affairs’ will be of interest to all since the Commission has made enabling the success of the digital single market – of which ecommerce is a key part – one of its priorities for 2015.

InternetRetailing too is setting its sights on Europe with the launch of its research into the Top500 European retailers. This will be launched later in the year at the InternetRetailing Expo which is taking place at Birmingham’s NEC on 25 and 26 March. You should have a copy of IR’s UK Top500 research bound with this issue of the magazine. If you’re reading someone else’s copy and want to see the research you can request a copy online at

As to what 2015 holds in store for UK retailing, a snapshot survey carried out by the BRC has shown that UK retailers are optimistic about their fortunes in 2015; with many predicting an improvement in sales and increases in both investment and employment levels over the next twelve months.

The team at IR Towers look forward to hearing your news and developments as the year unfolds – and, of course, seeing you at the InternetRetailing Expo in March.

Emma Herrod


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