UK “more important to continental Europe than vice versa”

A new report from European payments company Trustly has revealed that shoppers across Europe are helping to turn the UK into the “world’s third largest market for e-commerce trade”, and for some EU countries the UK is even surpassing USA as the second largest market meaning that the UK is more important to Europe for online trade than vice versa.

Consumers from Germany are some of the most eager online shoppers for UK goods and services, with 32 percent of Germans surveyed saying they have bought goods online from the UK in the past 12 months, making the UK the second largest destination for online shopping in Germany, after China.

Germany is followed by Italy (32 percent) and Sweden (30 percent) as buying more from the UK than anywhere else, except China, and the UK is now the third largest market for e-commerce trade in both Spain and the Netherlands, quickly gaining ground on Germany in terms of the value of e-transactions.

Consumers from all but one of the Continental European countries surveyed said they bought goods more frequently from the UK than they did from the USA. The only exception was France, where online shoppers favourite market was China (37 percent), followed by Germany (30 percent) and the USA (20 percent), with the UK trailing in fourth with 19 percent of online shoppers buying from the UK.

Trustly’s ‘State of Online Shopping’ report, which surveys online consumer habits across Europe, states that the results demonstrates the “strength and pace” of UK e-commerce, adding that British shoppers are far less reliant on other EU countries for online goods, preferring to buy from China and the USA.

European consumers turning UK into world’s third largest market for e-commerce trade

Nearly one in four, 38 percent of UK shoppers have bought something online from another country in the past 12 months, reveals the report, of those, 45 percent purchased goods from China, 36 percent from the USA and 16 percent from Germany. Other online transactions were made in France (10 percent) and Spain (6 percent).

However, most people said they would do more cross-border shopping if they didn’t have to give out their card numbers to unknown foreign merchants (55 percent) or if they could get refunds quicker and easier (50 percent), with more than half (52 percent) said the exchange rate was an issue when buying abroad.

Oscar Berglund, chief executive of Trustly, a Swedish-based online banking payment provider, said: “The UK continues to be an important market for European consumers. It is an established e-commerce nation and our report shows how UK cross-border online commerce export is significant with continental Europe.

“The strong performance of UK retailers among EU shoppers reflects the highly developed online market that the UK has created, and the growth of this sector can only be good news for the UK, particularly post-Brexit.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with Nepa, a leading research bureau and the first partner of Facebook operating outside of the US.

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