For any British business trying to plan for the future, it seems unlikely that the looming referendum on the UK’s position within the EU will be far from mind. Whilst some entrepreneurs may be feeling bullish about Britain’s chances outside of the Union, there are still plenty of warning signs of the damage a Brexit could wreak on trade. Volo, the community of online multichannel sellers, has issued a stark warning of the risks posed by Britain exiting the EU, revealing that western European markets make up more than 50% of the export market for online businesses.
Released today, the Volo Online Retail Export Index has indicated that exports make up nigh on 20% of the UK’s online retail economy. By far and away the most fertile ground for UK e-commerce businesses looking to sell abroad is France and Germany, which make up 40% of the demand for exports from British online businesses. Combined these countries far outstrip the US and, with markets like Italy and Spain also becoming increasingly important, the Online Retail Export Index reveals just how vital the Eurozone is to e-commerce.
But it’s not just the number of transactions that makes Europe such a huge opportunity for online retailers; it seems European markets also offer the most potential profit. Based on the number of parcels compared to the overall value of the market, the report shows that Belgium, Sweden and Ireland offer the highest average value per parcel. Evidently then, European territories are not ones that Blighty’s online businesses can afford to ignore.
“The online, multi-channel entrepreneurs of UK plc are clearly making real progress in developing Europe as an export market,” said Paul Watson, CEO of Volo. “It is often tempting to see the US as the big market to crack but our figures show that the trading relationship with Europe is as critical for the new generation of online entrepreneurs as it has been for older businesses. Export is a critical part of the thriving and rapidly developing online retail sector in the UK and much of this growth and success depends on the UK staying within the EU.”
Clearly, with the EU referendum looming, e-commerce businesses need to give serious thought to how a Brexit could affect their export opportunities.