Almost Half of UK Online Shoppers Purchase With International Retailers

Almost half (48%) of UK online shoppers have made an online purchase with a retailer based outside the UK, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.

Results suggest that price and availability are driving cross-border shopping amongst UK online consumers. 60% of the respondents who have shopped cross border said that they choose to purchase with a retailer outside of the UK because of better prices, whilst another 60% said that they made the purchase because they couldn’t get the product they wanted here in the UK. Another 18% stated their purchase decision was driven by better products on offer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, clothing, footwear and jewellery are the most popular items with Brits to purchase from a retailer aboard, followed by music, books and gifts – items whose size and weight aren’t likely to add too much to any costly delivery charges. However, there is also an appetite for home and consumer electronics.

The results reveal that the majority of UK consumers spend up to £50 per transaction with international retailers. Two thirds (64%) of cross-border shoppers who have purchased clothing, footwear or jewellery have spent up to £50, whilst a similar number (68%) have spent a similar amount with retailers outside the UK when purchasing gifts.

However, delivery charges and timescales still remain the biggest barriers for people purchasing overseas. Of those online consumers surveyed, all 2,000 feel that costly delivery charges could prevent them from making a purchase with a non-UK retailer, followed by 85% who could be put off by long delivery timescales and 79% who have concerns around security.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, comments, “Cross border shopping is not only a huge opportunity for UK retailers to expand their customer base and following across the globe, but can also be seen as a threat as more non-UK retailers look to enter the market. Our results show that purchasing with international brands is mainly driven by price and product availability, and therefore UK retailers need to ensure that they offer an exceptional customer experience to all customers around the world to encourage individuals to spend their hard earned cash with them”.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said, “The latest results from the eCustomerServiceIndex not only reveal that Britons are becoming more confident shopping from international merchants, but also that they are becoming more savvy internet shoppers. It is not surprising to hear that price is a driving factor for the majority of consumers shopping cross-border, but the fact that 60% of overseas shoppers cited lack of availability from UK merchants as a key reason for doing so, highlights the opportunities for retailers trading cross-border”.

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