UK is the world’s third most popular e-commerce destination

The UK is the world’s third most popular shopping destination for international online shoppers, according to new research from PayPal.

The research found an estimated 86.4 million of online shoppers from 29 countries surveyed bought from the UK in the last 12 months, attracted by the variety, quality and authenticity of products available on British websites.


Buying British

China, which has recently had its Singles Day, the biggest online shopping day in the world, leads the way when it comes to buying online from the UK. The US, France and Germany  are some way behind, but the study also reveals that Nigeria and India present new areas of opportunity for the nation’s businesses.

Cameron McLean, PayPal UK managing director, said: “As the world’s third most popular destination for online shoppers, Britain is punching well above its weight when it comes to global e-commerce.”



How they pay

Just as UK people spend more money online than ever before with the number of card transactions made on the internet increasing by 20 per cent in the past year, international buyers are also making numerous online transactions. The manner in which they do so is also interesting.

The study shows that whilst desktop computers remain consumers’ preferred device for internet shopping, smartphones continue to close the gap with nine out of ten (86 per cent) of Chinese consumers saying they shop via a mobile device, and 83 per cent of cross-border shoppers using their smartphone to purchase abroad.



Almost half of cross-border shoppers from China (47 per cent) have said they access foreign stores by going directly  to a website they have used before, underlining the importance of the first payment experience. This echoes an earlier report which found that a third of consumers would not return to a mobile site/app if it did not work the first time.


Delivery cost can be a dealbreaker

The study also showed that whilst many people prefer to shop remotely, there are some factors that can put people off. For example, one-third of cross-border shoppers have said that delivery shipping costs prevent them from shopping cross-border more often, whilst a quarter have abandoned their shopping cart because the delivery time was too long. A further quarter abandoned purchases because they were put off by the high cost of returning items.

The clear lesson to be learnt here is make logistics more efficient. Delivery charges play a much bigger role in the e-commerce process than retailers would care to admit and it is important to offer delivery charges and times that attract people rather than put them off.

Cameron McLean adds: “There are clear lessons for British businesses that want to boost their online international sales.  Your customers expect to shop on websites in their own language and want to pay in their own currencies – and may buy from your rivals if you don’t offer that experience.”

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