eBay fuels half a billion pound UK export boom

By Chris Dawson February 12, 2011 - 9:14 am

Prime Minister David Cameron has declared at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that exports were central to the Government’s strategy to rebuild the UK economy. According to figures released by eBay today, eBay sellers are leading the way and exported almost £1/2billion in 2010.

This is an increase in eBay exports of 128% since the credit crunch in 2007 compared to only a 20.5% increase in exports in the wider economy over the same period. eBay have released a raft of supplemental data which shows regardless of which category you trade in you should be making your products available to overseas buyers.

If you’re not sure which countries you should ship to then according to eBay’s data,the top export markets are the United States (£65.8 million), Australia (£42.9 million), Germany (£39.4 million), Ireland (£39.9 million) and France (£33.8 million). Whilst these are the biggest countries by UK exports don’t ignore newly industrialised countries which are growing in importance, accounting for £21.6 million in exports in 2010 – a rise of 64% in only a year and up 314% since 2007.

Fashion (Clothes Shoes and Accessories) is the top category for UK exports accounting for 12.5% of the total – up almost a quarter (23.5%) over the previous year including:

  • £4.4 million worth of Swiss watches, including over £63,000 worth to Switzerland.
  • £389,000 worth of kilts and £70,000 worth of bag pipes. Two-fifths of the kilts and a third of the bag pipes were sold to heritage hungry Americans.
  • £653,000 worth of Doc Martens, with over £99,000 going to Germany, homeland of the eponymous Dr Klaus Märtens.
  • £424,000 worth of wellington boots, including £31,500 to Australia.
  • £270,000 worth of bikinis, including £15,800 to sunny Spain and £14,000 to Malta.

According to a recent Parcelforce Worldwide “Barriers to Export” study 84% of non-exporters believe overseas trade is just too difficult despite 43% of non-exporting firms believing they could benefit if they took the plunge. According to eBay an impressive 88% of eBay businesses already export goods overseas.

Three ways to increase your exports on eBay

  1. List your products with overseas shipping specified to each of the countries you’re willing to ship to. This will enable your listings to be found on the Global Buying Hub. Exposure on the Global Buying Hub is free
  2. Use the International Site Visibility listing upgrade feature. International Site Visibility ensures that your products will appear in default search on overseas sites. This is at a cost though less than the cost of individual listings on multiple sites.
  3. Once you’ve identified your main target export countries, list directly on those country sites and if necessary translating your listings into that countries language is the best way to increase your exports. By listing directly onto another eBay country site you ensure your products receive maximum exposure in default search, plus your product will be listed in your buyer’s language and currency.
  • Jimbo
    11 years ago

    Does an item listed on eBay UK but sold by a seller in Hong Kong count as an export in eBayland?

  • Gary
    11 years ago

    How much of the stuff exported through eBay is actually manufactured in the UK?

    eBay may well be responsible for increasing imports. The difference between what is eBay exported and what is eBay imported for eBay exports, and then deduct the eBay export sales that are shipped from outside the UK, and it could all look very different indeed!

    Not a trumpet eBay should be blowing IMHO.

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    of bagpipes,
    wonder how many of those are chinese repros ?
    and of those that were real how much ivory ?

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    and they dont say much about how much alcohol. [whisky] is exported in “collectable bottles”

  • 11 years ago

    I can’t help wondering how much of this exported product is imported from the far east in the first place. Exporting British made products is the real key to growth.

  • Gerry007
    11 years ago

    Beyond all the big stuff ships/tanks etc, is there anything still made in the UK…??

  • 11 years ago

    @norf I’m emptying a collectable bottle as we speak. But I got it at the bottle shop.

  • 11 years ago

    Is there much at all still made in the UK or the west ?

    Just about everything we buy day to day comes from overseas.

    It can’t go on, you have to export something so that you can pay for it.

  • 11 years ago

    Actually Chris, those were very interesting figures.
    Bagpipes, Swiss watches etc etc.

    But to suggest that any reasonable sized business that want to get into exporting start by selling on ebay is a bit of a giant leap.

    • northumbrian
      11 years ago

      cant think of a better way of selling abroad then ebay
      especially if your new to export

      millions of buyers used to the system ,payment methods tried and tested. delivery methods tried and tested

  • Whirly
    11 years ago

    As long as the buggers are paying there taxes to the HMRC I don’t care, nobody on here is daft enough to take anything eBay say seriously (I hope).

  • Jack
    11 years ago

    Around 75% of what I sell online is UK made. Ironic that exporting to the US (in particular) has been a nightmare since November. I wonder if Mr Cameron has anything to say about getting our products through the US Dept of Homeland Security.

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