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UK ecommerce tops international growth league, exports set to hit £28b by 2020

UK ecommerce exports are set to hit £28 billion by 2020 with UK retailers enjoying a trade surplus that far outstrips competitors such as the US and Germany.

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A report by OC&C Strategy Consultants and Google discovered that in 2013 the UK’s trade surplus was £720 million and the amount of sales derived from international sources in 2020 are set to increase to 40 per cent of total online sales.

“We have seen a significant increase in the volume of searches for British retailers and brands coming from overseas. The majority of non-UK searches are currently coming from Europe, followed by North America and Asia, driven by the increased popularity of British brands abroad. Retailers can use search data to identify pockets of demand and move quickly to meet the needs of customers,” said Peter Fitzgerald, Director at Google.

Breaking it down to certain regions, Western Europe is the most popular market for exports with the combination of low barriers to entry and ease of delivery leading to a total of £9.8 billion in imports by 2020.

North America, meanwhile, will see sales increase to £2.7 billion by 2020 with slower growth present due to the market’s maturity and competition with home-grown brands.

When it comes to emerging economies, Asia is expected to see growth push it from sales of just £400 million in 2012 to £4.5 billion in 2020, and Central and Eastern Europe is even more impressive with an increase from £400 million in 2012 to £6.9 billion in 2020.

UK brands are performing so well overseas for a number of reasons including a better choice, a more competitive pricing policy at many retailers and a compelling site and service experience when up against foreign competitors.

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The report’s findings are based on the value of ecommerce searches on Google for the UK, Nordics, Germany, US, Netherlands and France.