Despite consumer confidence concerns lingering since the vote to leave the European Union, B2C e-commerce in the U.K. grew significantly in 2016, according to a report from the Ecommerce Foundation. Consumers in the world’s third-largest e-commerce market spent $205 billion online in 2016, nearly 18 percent more than the previous year, the report said. Department stores led the way, experiencing online growth of nearly 20 percent last year, while clothing and sporting goods were the most popular products purchased online in 2016.
But, while U.K. consumers might be bearish on their own economy, international sellers are not intimidated. Cross-border e-commerce in the country is accelerating as the share of sellers from outside the U.K. (both from the EU and the rest of the world) has grown.
“While Brexit brings clear levels of uncertainty for the trading environment, this is a long-term issue and, so far, the market has held up well,” said James Roper, chairman of IMRG, a U.K. trade association supporting e-commerce. “So the U.K. is an attractive market that should be on any international retailer’s radar, but success here is dependent on carrying out in-depth research first, having a strong and unique proposition and the ability to stand out from the crowd.”