World’s largest e-commerce markets will double in size by 2018

The e-commerce markets of the US, UK, China and Germany are set to reach a combined value of £645bn in the next three years – and Blighty's stores are proving particularly popular

World’s largest e-commerce markets will double in size by 2018

Given the fact that it gives retailers access to an almost limitless pool of potential customers, e-commerce is an opportunity that no retailer can afford to miss. And this has only been further emphasised by a report released today by OC&C Strategy Consultants, PayPal and Google, which has revealed that the world’s largest e-commerce markets – those of the US, China, UK and Germany – will grow by £320bn by 2018, bringing their collective value to £645bn.

But whilst this predicted growth is phenomenal news for those involved in the e-commerce space, there’s even better tidings for those stores based in Blighty. One of the biggest takeaways from the report is how popular British stores are abroad – the UK is the most popular overseas e-commerce destination in Germany and second favourite in the US and China. Even more striking is the fact that Chinese and German shoppers spend even more on the UK’s e-commerce platforms than Brits themselves. On average, they respectively fork out 2.7 and 1.7 times more in each transaction.

Despite this, however, it seems few UK e-commerce offerings are doing much to cater to this. The research shows that British platforms could be earning up to 60% more if they catered better to these markets by, for example, increasing trust with local consumers, adapting to local payment preferences and investing in infrastructure that would allow them to match local competitors’ speed. Even in a market like the US, which is heavily dominated by huge, well-established players, British online retailers could potentially treble their customer base.

“The study has shown that UK retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad,” said Anita Balchandani, partner and head of UK retail at OC&C Strategy Consultants. “But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets, for example, by offering international delivery on their UK website and working with partners to provide local returns addresses.”

Those enterprises looking to boost their export potential better sit up and take note. 

Josh Russell
Josh Russell

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