Online shopping surge to create huge opportunities for UK eCommerce

UK brands popular abroad

Although UK consumers currently spend roughly 1/5 of their shopping outlay online, Chinese shoppers are purchasing British products almost as often as their British counterparts — and spending around three-times as much.

In Germany, meanwhile, UK online stores are the most popular after German stores; and in the US, British online products are the second most popular internationally.

Mobile driving online shopping

Online shopping, which is currently worth around £320 billion in the four major markets, will double in the next three years thanks to the higher adoption of smartphone shopping among consumers.

The UK is leading the way on mobile devices in the West, with 59% of internet sales made on mobile or tablet devices. The US sits in second on 45%, and Germany in third on 24%.

“Our study shows that […] a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is now imperative to international success in retail,” said sales director at Google UK, Martijn Bertisen. “UK retailers should be well positioned to lead this growth internationally, as UK consumers are already amongst the most mobile of all.”

UK firms need to seize opportunity

“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,” observed Anita Balchandani, head of retail at OC&C. “But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets.”

The research identifies a number of ways businesses can improve sales online, such as by analysing customer data — such as loyalty, social media engagement and location — to build a better online relationship with their audience, and ultimately target them with specific products and prices.

By optimising their websites for mobile or creating an app, British businesses can take a huge step towards taking advantage of the billion-pound opportunities online. They must then make sure they analyse and engage with customers, both in the UK and abroad, to find out what they want from their websites and their products.

June 2015

Originally published at

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