Brexit drives spike in international sales from UK ecommerce sites

The Brexit vote on June 23 has naturally led to much concern among retailers about the immediate future. 

The uncertainty  is set to continue for some time, particularly as no-one has any idea when (or even if) article 50 will be triggered to begin the process of leaving the EU.

One short-term effect of Brexit, thanks to the steep fall in the value of sterling, is an increase in the number of orders from outside the UK, as foreign shoppers take advantage of reduced prices.

pound falling

Pound Sterling – United States Dollar

Online sales from UK ecommerce sites to non-UK customers increased sharply in the week after the EU referendum, according to stats from Barilliance (using sales data from 50 UK retailers).

The number of sessions from outside the UK increased, as did conversions and sales, while abandonment rates fell. On the flip-side, sales to UK residents grew, but only slightly.

Here’s the figures, comparing 23-30 June to the previous week:

Non-UK residents on UK ecommerce sites:

  • Shopping sessions up 6%
  • Conversions up 28.7%
  • Sales up 30%
  • Cart abandonment rate down 1.3%

UK residents browsed more but bought less:

  • Shopping sessions were up by 4.4%
  • Conversions rose by 1.5%
  • Sales up 3.4%
  • Cart abandonment rate rose by 2.3%

The weaker pound was talked up as one of the benefits of Brexit, though it’s a double-edged sword. Yes, it can help the export market, but the benefit can be wiped out by the increased cost of imports and services (such as web hosting).

For the UK ecommerce market, increased overseas sales will of course be welcome, but not at the cost of reduced consumer confidence in the UK.

To put these figures into context, international orders accounted for just 20% of the total sales volume for the retailers studied. This may not have been enough to offset the slowdown in UK sales.

Our recent Ecommerce Checkout Best Practice Guide provides a detailed guide for retailers. For more reports, including guides on mobile commerce, customer experience, and social customer service, head to ClickZ Intelligence

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