Nearly a third of UK online orders were international in January

Almost a third of all online orders placed with UK retailers in January were for international delivery, according to the latest numbers from the IMRG.

The IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index for January found that while online retail orders rose by 11.3 per cent in January, 32 per cent of all orders were heading out of the UK. Of those orders, 59 per cent were to the European Union.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG said, “The UK has long been a retail destination for overseas shoppers but, following Brexit and the sharp drop in sterling’s value, it has become a ‘value for money’ retail destination. Over the past 12 months, the average percentage of orders going cross-border from Index retailers is almost 27 per cent. Orders going to non-EU destinations rose sharply in the months after Brexit, probably driven by US demand as the dollar gained most against the pound during that period. However, EU destinations are now accounting for the biggest share again with a similar rise in average order values.”

Growth in January was 32.1 per cent down on December, as expected at this time of year. January growth of 11 per cent is in line with the index’s forecast for 2017. That would mean 1.3bn parcels, or 1.25bn orders, being sent by UK retailers through UK carrier networks for the year.

Post-Brexit – and the subsequent devaluation of the pound – we have seen a general increase in the percentage of parcels going cross-border. This continued in January, with 32 per cent going to other markets – a big uplift on 25 per cent last January.
There has also been a shift in where these orders are going. In August 2016, for the first time we recorded a higher percentage going to non-EU destinations. This remained the case until November, but in December the percentage going to EU destinations jumped up to 56 per cent. This grew even higher in January 2017, reaching 59 per cent.

Chris Hoskin, head of marketing at MetaPack said, “Clearly customers outside the UK are very sensitive to the fluctuations in price and the value they perceive they are getting as a result. The findings in the Index highlight that during Brexit negotiations, UK retailers can be certain that their overseas customers will be keeping a very close eye on how they can benefit from changes in the value of the pound and this will offer them opportunities in the coming months.”