If you are looking to expand your e-commerce business to a new country, then you should seriously consider the United Kingdom (UK). For starters, the UK is the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market, and it keeps showing signs of constant and steady growth.
It’s also interesting to note that this industry was one of the very few that not only survived during the coronavirus pandemic, but well and truly thrived. Are you keen to discover more about the current UK e-commerce trends in 2022? Keep reading our essential guide right here.
Who: The New Digital Shoppers
Let’s first look at who, in the United Kingdom, shops online the most. Statistics show that younger generations are most likely to turn to online shopping whenever they need to buy a new item.
At the same time, though, older UK consumers are also increasingly reported to prefer online shopping to in-store retail. All in all, it’s fair to say that the majority of UK consumers, these days, are getting used to shopping online, regardless of their specific age group.
What: The Best-Selling Categories
With e-commerce being so popular and successful in the United Kingdom, it might be interesting to find out what, exactly, UK shoppers tend to buy online. According to recent surveys, items belonging to the fashion, beauty, and electronics sectors are amongst the best-selling ones. The fashion industry itself, in particular, saw a 28% uptick in yearly online sales.
UK consumers seem very fond of French clothing and beauty brands, as well as American items. US-based companies – mostly those within the fashion space, such as Forever21 and American Apparel – are among the most popular in the UK’s e-commerce world.
Where: The Most Popular E-commerce Channels
UK online shoppers tend to prefer buying goods that are sold on international e-commerce sites and marketplaces. Platforms like Amazon and eBay, for example, continue to be some of the preferred e-commerce channels.
However, national sites like Argos also offer UK consumers the possibility to shop for household and personal items in a quick and easy way. Similarly, UK food retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Ocado, and more have recorded a massive increase in their online orders, particularly since the outbreak of the pandemic.
How: The Preferred Ways to Shop Online
UK consumers are very savvy when it comes to online shopping. Recent research from Statista discovered that UK shoppers prefer to purchase online items via mobile devices. In particular, smartphones are the most popular choice, with 64% of Brits choosing this method.
Next up are laptops, at 49%, and other digital devices such as tablets and desktop computers.
Why: The Drivers Behind Online Shopping in the UK
One of the main reasons why UK shoppers have quickly turned to e-commerce is because of the coronavirus pandemic. With in-store retail experiencing a sudden and protracted halt because of lockdowns and other pandemic-related regulations, UK consumers rapidly found online shopping to be the only way to keep purchasing not only essential items such as food, but also non-essential ones, such as fashion and electronic products.
The Keys to UK e-commerce Success: Sustainability, Information, PXM
After all these considerations, it might seem that any e-commerce retailer could succeed in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the reality is a bit different, as we are about to discover in this last section.
For an e-commerce brand to be popular in this country, in fact, a few factors are paramount. These include sustainability, product information, and product experience management (PXM). According to a 2021 study published by Deloitte, Brits are the most concerned consumers worldwide when it comes to ethical and sustainable products.
So much so, that nearly a third of shoppers declared that they won’t buy from a brand that they deem unethical or unsustainable. Because of this widespread concern, UK consumers also expect brands to provide as much information as possible on all their products.
For example, they want to find out about how items are made, shipped, and delivered, as well as what impact they have on the environment. Transparency and honesty, therefore, are essential elements that enable e-commerce brands – both national and international – to thrive in the UK.
It goes without saying that UK online shoppers also expect that product information to be constantly reviewed, updated, and corrected whenever necessary. For this reason, more and more companies are opting to use PXM solutions.
These help brands to provide exceptional customer experiences throughout all the different purchasing platforms, by engaging online shoppers and analysing interactions and product performances. PXM solutions are so effective that recent research has revealed that companies investing in these systems enjoy up to 40% fewer product returns, and 4 times more conversions.
If you are considering expanding your e-commerce business to the UK, then, we strongly recommend using a PXM solution.
Deciding where to take your e-commerce business next is never easy, and it can often feel quite overwhelming. If you are looking for a sure-fire way to take your brand to the next level, though, you can’t go wrong by expanding to the United Kingdom. Find out how native knowledge of the market will boost the output.
This country is seeing a steady and sustained rise in e-commerce, with a huge chunk of its consumers leveraging digital channels, platforms, and devices to purchase all types of items, from both national and international companies. Remember, though, that to be truly successful you’ll need to provide ethical, sustainable products, keep your product information always up-to-date, and use a PXM system to ensure top-notch product and shopping experiences.
If you plan to enter the UK online retail sector or your business is struggling to keep up with the pace, contact our UK e-commerce marketers by clicking the button below.