Weak pound drives rise in e-commerce shoppers from overseas


Cross-border e-commerce has surged since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union crashed the pound.

Online retailers in the UK now sell almost a third of their goods overseas, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index.

It was July last year that the early impacts of the Brexit decision were starting to be recorded, in relation to the sudden drop in the value of sterling.

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From an online retail perspective, this drove a notable increase in the percentage of orders going to international destinations.

In July 2015, for example, 24.4% of all Delivery Index volumes were going cross-border; in July 2016 it was 26.6% and July this year it reached 29.6%.

Of that volume going cross-border, the share going to EU destinations reached a 4-year high in July 2017. Generally speaking, the split between EU and non-EU destinations has tended to be fairly even over the lifetime of the Delivery Index (which launched in 2011), but last month it reached 62.7%. In July last year, the percentage going to the EU was 55.3%.

Chris Hoskin, head of marketing, MetaPack, said: “We can see a consistent rise in cross-border orders which over the last three months have all been over 60% of the total. Whilst we could assume that this is to do with sterling and the beneficial prices that overseas consumers are enjoying, we believe it is also part of a wider trend. As long as UK retailers can offer quality products with great delivery options at good prices, overseas customers are happy to make their purchases, and we have every reason to believe this will continue even once the UK is out of the EU.”

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder