The United Kingdom is a country that has totally embraced eCommerce and over the past ten years has grown into Europe’s largest eCommerce market.  Out of an adult population of around 49 million (the total population is 63. 7 million) nearly 37 million buy goods and services from UK websites.

The maturity and increasing sophistication of the UK eCommerce sector offers both opportunities for UK merchants to sell overseas and international e-tailers to set up shop and sell to the country’s consumers.

Some key data are worth noting:

  • 71% of UK based online retailers offer delivery outside of the UK, making international purchasing quite straightforward. 

  • 48% of UK online shoppers have made an online purchase with a retailer based outside the UK. 

  • The UK is among the biggest cross-border B2C ecommerce exporters worldwide, supported by the popularity of British brands around the world and wide use of the English language. The most intense trade takes 
place between the U.K., the United States and other English-speaking countries. 

  • The UK the remains among the most popular destination for cross-border online shopping among European online shoppers 
purchasing abroad, followed by Germany and France. 

  • Global cross-border ecommerce is set to grow to GBP 28 billion by 2020 with the UK expected to have a 60% 
share of that market. 

  • The number of UK retailers offering a choice between standard and express delivery service for their international 
customers grew from 18% in 2012 to 31% in 2013, in addition to 18% offering an address look-up functionality 
for overseas customers, compared with 6% in 2012. 

  • The top destination countries for cross-border ecommerce purchases from the UK are US (70%), China (23%), 
Hong Kong (21%), Germany (19%) and Ireland (15%). 

  • The U.K. logistics industry and delivery networks are well-established, effective and efficient with online customers now having choice of multiple delivery options that include 6-7 day a week delivery to home, PUDO (pick-up/drop-off) options, delivery to workplace and/or neighbour. Moreover, the returns system for undeliverable or unwanted products is very sophisticated.

The above factors make the United Kingdom are very worthwhile target market for overseas e-tailers and operators to exploit. 


United Kingdom

  • Europe’s largest eCommerce economy
  • Population: 63.7 million
  • 8 million internet users (87% of population)
  • 1 million mobile users (82% of population)
  • eCommerce total sales: GBP 91 billion (2013)
  • mCommerce sales: GBP 23.4 billion (2013)
  • Average online spend per capita: GBP 2,195
  • Average order value (excluding travel): GBP 78
  • Online sales represent 21% of all retail sales
  • Main online categories are:
    • Accessories
    • Clothing and Fashion
    • Footwear
    • Health and Beauty
    • Electrical items
    • Beer, Wine & Spirits
    • Gifts
  • Main countries for cross-border sales from the U.K.
    • United States
    • Australia
    • China
    • Germany
    • France
    • Russia
    • Turkey
    • Ireland
  • Main overseas countries and numbers of shoppers buying from U.K. online webshops (2014 data):
    • Germany – 6.5 million
    • China – 7.7 million
    • Australia – 3.0 million
    • United States – 16.7 million
    • Brazil – 0.9 million

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