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UK Digital Shoppers Without Borders Have Arrived

Nearly half of digital shoppers have purchased from a non-UK retailer online

August 14, 2014 | Retail & Ecommerce

Western Europe’s internet users have taken to cross-border buying, and July 2014 polling by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and eDigitalResearch found further evidence that this trend was happening in the UK. Among UK digital shoppers polled, nearly half (48%) had made a digital purchase with a retailer outside the UK. The majority spent up to £50 ($78.13) per cross-border transaction.

Reasons that UK Digital Shoppers Have Made a Digital Purchase from a Non-UK Retailer, July 2014 (% of respondents)

Results indicated that better prices as well as product availability were the main drivers of cross-border shopping. Fully 60% of respondents said they purchased an item from a non-UK retailer online because they found a better deal, while the same percentage had looked outside of the country because they couldn’t locate the product in the UK.

Factors that Are Most Valued When Shopping with a Retailer Online According to UK Internet Users, March 2014 (% of respondents)

Seeking the best price and desired items are trends among UK shoppers no matter where they’re shopping digitally. In March 2014 polling by Retail Week in association with BT (British Telecom), 70.8% of UK internet users ranked price as the most valued factor when shopping with a retailer online—the No. 1 response. Finding what they wanted ranked second, at 64.6%. Stock availability and product range, though still important, weren’t nearly as popular as they were when shopping with non-UK retailers.

IMRG and eDigitalResearch found that clothing, footwear and jewelry were the most popular items UK cross-border buyers ordered. Two-thirds (64%) of this group had spent up to £50 on a purchase.

Lightweight items including music, books and gifts, which don’t typically push delivery costs up, ranked second. This makes sense given that all UK internet users surveyed said high delivery fees could stop them from purchasing across the border. Other worries included long delivery times (85%) and security concerns (79%). Meanwhile, delivery options weren’t as much of an issue among internet users in Retail Week and BT’s survey; 45.5% of respondents said these were a valued factor when shopping with an online retailer.

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