Brexit won’t stop overseas buyers shopping the UK

By Chris Dawson November 20, 2017 - 10:15 am

With Brexit looming over UK retailers and brands, merchants can take heart from the sentiments expressed by US and European consumers. Figures released in MetaPack’s annual State of eCommerce Delivery Consumer Research Report show that overseas shoppers indicated that it would be ‘shopping as usual’ from the UK once it exits the European Union with 58% saying it would make no difference to their shopping behaviours.

French (67%), Dutch (65%) and Italian (62%) shoppers were most likely to keep buying goods – but even 54% of German and 48% of Spanish shoppers said they’d keep buying British. Just over a quarter (27%) of US shoppers said that post Brexit, they’ll be buying even more goods from the UK.

“This is the first time that we have been able to address the topic of the UK leaving the EU with such a large number of overseas consumers and it is heartening to see the sentiments expressed. However, when we asked what the deterrents would be to purchasing from the UK, we found that over three quarters (77%) of shoppers said if goods became more expensive than those they could purchase locally and 63% said if delivery costs increased.”
– Bruce Fair, MetaPack

Those UK retailers eyeing the US market need to be aware of, and accommodate, the very particular delivery expectations of US customers. Three quarters (75%) of US shoppers, for example, prioritise purchasing from retailers that offer a delivery loyalty programme – compared to 44% in the UK, and 63% of US shoppers want the freedom to choose which carrier delivers their online orders – but this appeals to only 25% of UK shoppers.

Overall, with Sterling relatively low against other world currencies, UK goods have never been so attractive. It’s also worth remembering that whilst Brexit is a big deal for UK retailers it’s not a subject high on the agenda for overseas consumers. They just want to know if they’re getting a good deal and if their goods will be delivered on time.

  • Johnny Norre
    12 months ago

    I am located in Denmark and one of those people buying goods in UK, but over the internet. I visit UK web pages and search out UK ebay’ers (and other EU based sellers) and I will definitely buy less (if anything at all) after the UK leave the EU. Why? Because goods from UK will then be treated as goods from any other non-EU country, which means any goods above DKK 80 (approx GBP 10) will have VAT and a import free of DKK 160 added. Also, the goods will pass though customs, typically taking longer time to arrive, and even when the amount is less than DKK 80 (and free from duty) the customs will sometimes ask for documentation adding time and trouble to the purchase. The main reason I buy from UK, over e.g. China, and pay more for the goods, is because no duty is added and there are no need for documentation to the customs in Denamrk. So in the future I will move my purchases to German shops or just order in other non-EU countries, which is cheaper than UK.

    Best regards,

    • 12 months ago

      You should note that a UK seller will now be able to sell these goods to you VAT free, so they should come out at just under 17% cheaper than they are now..

    • Martin
      12 months ago

      Totally agree with Johnny.
      I am from Slovakia and same will apply to me.
      Customs and Tax above 20€ goods. Same as if I will buy from China.
      So I see this article is not covering all points and that’s exactly what I was thinking when reading this post..
      Probably respondents of this “study” dodnt understand what will happen to open UK -EU market after Brexit.
      Anyway, still hope for they will find some agreement on this and there will be still open market between EU and UK after Brexit. As a seller from Slovakia “hard” Brexit can hurt me a lot…