UK ecommerce export market could treble in size to £45bn by 2020: report

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UK ecommerce exports could more than treble in value to be worth £45bn by 2020, new research suggests.

The study, International Ecommerce – the future is now, from OC&C Strategy Consultants and Google , estimates the current value of the market at £13bn. The study says that the rules of the game have changed as consumers now use the internet and a global shop window and increasingly access retailers, as well as leisure, travel and content providers primarily through mobile devices. Chief executives must now work out how to adapt to this disruption and to find the international business model that works best.

The Google Export Business Map identifies the top 10 international markets and has been launched to help UK businesses make the most of the opportunity in countries including Germany, USA, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada.

Peter Fitzgerald, UK country sales director at Google, said: “The rules on international business have changed. The internet has removed boundaries, changing markets forever. This means that everyone from traditional businesses and established internet players to bedroom start-ups can take advantage of online tools and digital market to easily target new territories and engage with new customers. We hope the Google Export Business Map will help UK businesses capitalize on the £45bn opportunity, inspiring them to think beyond their local markets and grow quickly and strategically.”

Anita Balchandani, partner and head of retail at OC&C Strategy Consultants, said: “Internationalisation used to be very capital intensive but ecommerce has meant that it is now quicker, simpler, more economical and therefore lower risk for companies to test out new markets. We estimate that international search traffic will quadruple by 2020, so there is a huge opportunity for UK companies who want to capitalise on international expansion online.”

The report cites the example of London-based MATCHESFASHION.COM , which now makes most of its sales overseas. Its partner and COO Ulric Jerome explained how that happened. “We began life as a luxury bricks and mortar retailer,” said Jerome, “but soon recognised the potential to engage an international audience and grow globally by increasing our digital presence.

“Now we see ourselves as a technology company delivering the best luxury fashion experience possible, which is reflected in our decision to align all our platforms under one brand name, MATCHESFASHION.COM. We believe this creates a seamless experience at every touch point for our clients worldwide and this digital evolution has resulted in 70% of our online sales now coming from international markets.”

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