OC&C: International ecommerce UK expands on brand

09 June 2015 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Across the UK, US, Germany and China, the global ecommerce market is set to grow to £645 billion by 2018, with the further expansion of mobile online shopping continuing to drive the market forward. The British online retailer brand remains strong, with Chinese and German shoppers buying more online from the UK than domestic shoppers, spending respectively 2.7 times and 1.7 times more than locals, a report from OC&C Strategy Consulting finds.

The UK, US, Germany and China ecommerce market is set to boom a further £320 billion between now and 2018 according to a recently released report from OC&C Strategy Consulting. The report brings together information leveraged from Google trends and PayPal transactions to disclose how the online market is faring. In OC&C’s analysis of the current market conditions the consulting firm finds that £1 in every £5 spent by UK shoppers on goods is spent through digital channels.

The report highlights that particularly smart mobile phones are set to further increase the ecommerce market, with retailers investing in digital operations to take advantage of a multi-channel trend. The British appear by far the most proficient at shopping through a mobile device, with 59% of online sales delivered through smartphones or tablets, compared to 45% in the US and 24% in Germany.

OC&C Strategy Consultants - Online Retail

It is not merely domestic or import demand in the UK that is being affected by a switch to digital channels. The consultants find that online shopping is making it easier for international consumers to access the UK market. Chinese shoppers, for instance, are as frequently at British online stores as locals, with German shoppers too spending considerably at the British online brand. It’s not just that Chinese shoppers are visiting British online establishments; they also spend 2.7 times more than domestic shoppers, with German customers spending 1.7 times more than locals.

UK’s appeal
The online market remains appealing to international shoppers, because it offers products not in supply at local vendors (40%), are cheaper (33%) and that British goods are trusted to be what it says on the packet (29%). The concerns of international shoppers when buying British goods are data security and the ability to return unwanted products.

Online shopping

Commenting on the results, Anita Balchandani, Head of Retail at OC&C, says: “The study has shown that UK retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad. But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets, for example, by offering international delivery on their UK website and working with partners to provide local returns addresses.”

“The number of people with internet access is growing fast, with many new consumers skipping the desktop phase entirely and only experiencing the web through a smartphone,” adds Martijn Bertisen, sales director at Google UK. “Our study shows that this is increasingly translating into mobile transactions and that a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is now imperative to international success in retail. UK retailers should be well positioned to lead this growth internationally, as UK consumers are already amongst the most mobile of all.”