Four out of five consumers in the UK say they would consider purchasing online from merchants in another country, according to a new study from ecommerce platform firm Bronto Software conducted by Censuswide. In fact, 44% of UK consumers have already done so, and another 36% of them are open to the idea, with only 20% saying they wouldn’t consider it.
That 80% can be an opportunity or a threat for merchants, depending on geographical location, Bronto found.
“If you’re a merchant based outside the UK, you might see these shoppers as an attractive opportunity for expansion of your brand and sales,” the report stated. “As a British retailer, however, you need to acknowledge that you are now competing on a global rather than national stage. In either case, understanding these consumers and the drivers behind their shopping behavior is critical to your success.”
Some other findings from the survey:
- Somewhat surprisingly, men are slightly more likely than women to have purchased good online outside of the UK, 47% to 41%.
- Not surprisingly based on many other studies, the likelihood of doing so also skews younger: 60% of those 16-24 years old have done so, and the numbers go down from there – 53% for 25-34 year olds; 47% for 35-44 year olds; and 34% for 45 and older.
- The greatest number of UK consumers who have purchased cross-border online do so every three months (42%), followed by once a week (20%), every 2-3 months (20%) and 1-3 times a month (18%).
- The U.S. is by far the most frequent cross-border shopping destination for UK consumers, with 56% saying they have purchased from merchants there, followed by China (44%), Germany (20%), France (15%) and Japan (14%).
- Shipping costs were seen as the biggest barrier to cross-border shopping, cited by 62% of UK consumers, followed by hidden costs such as taxes and fees (37%), mistrust of online payment methods and security concerns (both 32%), and no free returns and transit times (both 31%).
Bronto suggested merchants conduct a few small strategic tests into foreign markets to determine their viability and potential. “An outbound marketing effort, combined with an analysis of your website data, can help you define the size and costs of the opportunity,” the report concluded.