E-commerce & Shopping Trends of the UK

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Does shipping stress you out because you’re unfamiliar with the service, or unsure if it’s worth your money? Are you worried that it might not be handled properly by the shipping company? Or what if it gets damaged or lost in the process? 

Sure, you’re doing the best on your end to get your items to the UK safely, but you can’t help but wonder if everyone else is as careful as you are. PackageHopper is by MyUS—a company that has been doing an excellent job shipping to over 210 countries in the world for over 20 years, handling every package as if it was our own. We are now offering quality international shipping services to you for your care packages, household essentials, and business orders. And if the United Kingdom is your country of choice for e-commerce, keep reading!

The Most Advanced European E-commerce Market

Statistics from 2019 show that the UK is the leading country in online shopping in the world, with 2/3 of the population buying online on the regular. Over 1/3 of customers (38%) buy at least one item from a website on a weekly basis. As UK was one of the most affected countries by the pandemic, with long and strict lockdowns, people had no choice but to stay indoors and shop online in 2020. It is estimated that around 87% of households purchased something over the last 15 months, bringing the UK’s total e-commerce revenue for 2020 just below 100 billion GBP (c. $139 billion). 

As a US seller, all this data means you can enter the UK market with ease and get tons of clients as Brits love to shop internationally.

Driving Forces: Fashion and Creativity

Brits love Fashion and this segment made up 34% of the total annual revenue for 2020. Toys, Hobbies and DIY came in the second place with 18%, followed by Electronics with 17%, Food and Personal Care with 16%, and Furniture and Appliances with 15%. 

Amazon is unreachable in revenue from the UK, placing 1st as the most visited website, and it brought a revenue of $14.7 billion in 2020. 

Second place was taken by Tesco with $5.9 billion and with “Food and Personal Care” as its most-visited category. 

The domestic store Argos placed third with revenue of $5.3 billion and people bought everything from toys to electronics to furniture there. 

As you can see, the British prefer all-encompassing stores, but they also buy a lot from Instagram and YouTube influencers and small Etsy businesses! To start a small business in the UK, it’s best if you already have an established revenue stream of anywhere from £2000 – 20,000 GBP. So once you’ve done your accounting and think you’re ready to tackle a new adventure,  and let us take care of the shipping for you!

One of the Best Economies in the World 

We are aware that the UK was hit hard all around during the COVID pandemic and its lasting effects, but it still remains one of the top economies in the world, ranking 5th by nominal GDP (US$3.12 trillion in 2021), and London is the 2nd largest trading center in the world. 

The social market economy of the UK aims to create opportunities for everyone, although the service sector makes up a staggering 79% of the total GDP.
But how can you fit in?

How Do They Shop and What Do They Pay With?

Undoubtedly, people from the UK do more online shopping than anyone else, but what devices do they use for shopping?

Over 52% of UK shoppers use their smartphones for shopping, mostly Millennials and Gen Z. Furthermore, 17% use tablets, and a little over 5% use desktop computers. Here’s an interesting fact: 11% of shoppers in the UK use their smartwatches for shopping! 

This all points to the fact that shoppers are using all sorts of devices when browser and purchasing, so you’ll need to pay attention to how you design your website. Make sure your e-commerce platform is compatible with all layouts (desktop, mobile, and size adaptable) as well as being fast and responsive.

In terms of paying, credit cards are the most popular method and 53% of online shoppers choose their credit cards every time. Digital wallets are second with 25% of payment methods, while cash and other payment methods come in 3rd and 4th place with 7% each. Direct Debit is used by 5% and only 3% choose bank-to-bank transfer as their preferred paying method.

Inform Yourself on Duties and Taxes 

All packages are subject to customs inspection upon arrival, so be sure to declare the items you’re shipping as accurately as possible. As your choice of shipping service, PackageHopper will provide you with—and walk you through—all the paperwork you’ll need, so there’s no need to worry about getting confused and missing anything!

Part of the item description process includes checking that nothing is restricted or prohibited. Our list is very handy and comprehensive, but you might want to also investigate any new import laws for your destination country as well, just in case. With PackageHopper, we have all the info to help you so feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions along the process!

Delivery Preferences of UK Shoppers 

Delivery time is important for the average UK shopper and many of them are even willing to pay more for next-day delivery. Their tolerance for packages that come from overseas is about 3 days, although 11% would prefer if it were faster at 1-2 days. 

Around 46% of online shoppers use the click-and-collect method, which means they really like the convenience of reserving and ordering an item online but picking it up at the brick-and-mortar store to get their products immediately. This means that if you’re looking to attract UK shoppers, you’ll want to make sure your products are unique enough and you’ve built a strong brand so they can’t get it anywhere else!

Another part of this is the fact that everyone loves free shipping. With click-and-collect, they don’t pay for shipping at all (because they’re going to pick it up themselves) and around 4 in 10 Brits find free shipping to be crucial for their online shopping experience. It’ll be tricky, but we’re sure our specially negotiated rates with our carrier partners will be crucial to helping you keep costs down here!

Social Media Presence and Communication

If you’re considering expanding your business to the UK, you’ll need to have a strong online presence to reach those clients. You must communicate with your online community and update them as much as you can. Thinking about introducing a new scrunchie? Engage with your potential customers and ask them about the colors and details they’d like to see in your product! People love being heard and feeling involved. A good businessperson knows exactly what to reveal and what to keep a secret to get engagement and sell well.

Be sure to build a brand identity and stick to it consistently! This will ensure customers from the UK will come flowing into your e-shop because they must have YOUR products or services.

What else do you want to hear about business trends in the UK? Reach out and let us know so we can answer all your questions!


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