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Global context

Understanding the global context

Visitors from around the world drop into the online stores operated by leading UK retailers. This heat map reflects the level of interest IRUK Top500 retailers attract from different parts of the globe.

How do IRUK Top500 retailers fare within the global context? This heatmap is designed to highlight the number of visitors that come to UK retail websites from outside the UK and draws on data from InternetRetailing Knowledge Partners Hitwise and SimilarWeb.

It shows that the strongest interest in IRUKTop500 retailers comes from those who have a language in common. The United States is the single largest source of traffic to these leading websites, while Canada also ranks among the top ten overseas markets.

Interest is also strong from those with whom we share geography: Germany, France, Italy and Spain are within the ten leading markets. Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium are the European markets with the next greatest interest.

But also significant are amounts of traffic coming from Japan – with the third highest levels of interest in UK retailers – the Russian Federation, India and mainland China. At the other end of the scale, there’s a small but measurable interest from markets as varied as Ecuador, Armenia, Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan.

Just as retailers from other parts of the world choose to trade from the UK, shoppers from around the world also look to the UK to buy. Some of the names listed in the Top500 will already be very familiar to overseas visitors, from Amazon to Space.NK and Apple in the United States, to H&M, Zara and Clinique in Europe.

But the list is also a useful reminder that retail is now very much a global business. As RetailX research extends to other geographies, the extent to which retailers succeed in markets around the world has become clearer.

The IRUK Top500 list has its most extensive crossover among European retailers: 226 of those listed also appear in the IREU Top500. But there’s also significant overlap with very different areas. Some 96 retailers also appear on the ASEAN Top500 and 51 on the AU Top250.

It’s also likely that UK retailers have a wide reach because of the widespread understanding of the English language, and because this is a market where local retailers are relatively mature, having years of experience in serving a market where shoppers are more willing to buy online.

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