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Selling online in the UK

United_Kingdom_128  United Kingdom
The UK is a mature consumer market with a well established and large ecommerce sector. With a population of 66,573,504, the UK has an average annual per capita ecommerce spend of €3,344, which is well above the european average of €2,186.
Top sites
1. Amazon
2. eBay
3. Home Retail Group
4. Tesco
5. Apple
Top online payment methods
1. Credit/debit cards
2. Paypal
3. Direct payment through a bank
Country Profile
Population 66,573,504
Language(s) spoken English
Currency Pound Sterling
GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) 2,914,042
Nominal GDP 2,624,529
GDP growth rate 1.20%
Number of Internet users 60,273,385
Internet penetration 92.60%
Learn more about selling in the UK.

Ecommerce facts & tips on selling in the UK

The UK is a mature consumer market with a well established and large ecommerce sector. With a population of 66,573,504, the UK has an average annual per capita ecommerce spend of €3,344, which is well above the european average of €2,186.

Top ecommerce sites

The top ecommerce sites in the UK are Amazon, eBay and Home Retail Group. Other top retail and brand sites include Tesco, Apple, Google Shopping, John Lewis Partnership, Dixons Carphone, Asda (Walmart) and Marks & Spencer. It’s worth checking out these popular sites to see which ones might best suit your product in terms of traffic volume, competition and the type of ecommerce buyers that they attract.To learn how to expand in this market, download our Internal growth eBook.

Popular products

The top products and categories for UK ecommerce buyers include books/music/movies/video games, consumer electronics & computers, household appliances, furniture & homeware and clothing & footwear. Offering products from these categories may help you establish your presence on the UK ecommerce market and give you a headstart. Discover your product feed’s international potential.

Payment methods

The top online payment methods in the UK include credit/debit cards, Paypal and direct payment through a bank. It’s important to provide your (potential) customers with payment methods of their preference, not supporting common payment methods in a given market will immediately exclude a certain proportion of that market. In many cases, if online shoppers can’t find their preferred or trusted methods of payment during checkout, they will abandon the shopping cart entirely.

Your site’s checkout is the most important and most sensitive part of your buying funnel. Optimizing your checkout for your customers, particularly your international ones, will have a huge impact on your conversion rate. Make sure you provide local payment options, currency conversion and appropriate, cost effective, and timely, local shipping methods.

Mobile commerce

For B2C online purchases particularly, mobile ecommerce now makes up a significant proportion of the UK ecommerce market and within the next 12 months is likely to surpass desktop usage. Ecommerce merchants should bear this in mind when setting up their online stores and product listings. Mobile optimization and a great mobile buying experience is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it must be core to your broader ecommerce strategy.

Digital marketing and SEO

To drive UK traffic to your website, local marketing & SEO will be essential, however, in order to do this effectively you will need to localize your store for the UK market. Having a localized version of your store, in Pound Sterling (GBP) and in English will enable you to have your store indexed in UK search engines and in order to generate free organic traffic. Another great and highly effective way to generate good quality, qualified traffic, is Google Ads. To learn more about global traffic growth, download our free international SEO eBook.
 
Another great and highly effective way to generate good quality, qualified traffic, is Google Ads. Glopal provides a simple & fully managed ecommerce solution that connects your existing Google Shopping product feeds with buyers worldwide, growing your sales instantly. Glopal also handles all components of localization required to use Google Shopping in the UK. Not sure about your international marketing potential? Use our free Google Shopping grader.

Shipping

The UK has a sophisticated and efficient ecommerce industry and to compete effectively it is essential that you are able to offer cost effective and timely local shipping options. The easiest way to provide a reliable and secure local shipping service in a new market is often to use an international parcel forwarding service.

Customs, Tax & Duties

In order to ensure a seamless buying experience and reliable delivery times for UK buyers it is a good idea to consider calculating and displaying all local taxes and duties up front. This involves assigning relevant HS codes to all your products and then using those to calculate the taxes and duties that need to be applied to a specific product. This is an arduous manual task, but can be automated using Glopal’s HS Classification tool.

The UK: General Information

Selling in the UK is a great option for growth-minded online merchants. When you launch your store in a new market, there are a number of useful facts and data that you should consider.

There are 60,273,385 Internet users in the UK and internet penetration amounts to 92.60%. In terms of device usage, there are 44,953,000 smartphone users and smartphone penetration amounts to 68.60%. On a global scale, smartphones are being more and more widely used for online ecommerce purchases.

Population & language

The total population of the UK is 66,573,504. The median age is 40.5. The language spoken in the UK is English and the currency is Pound Sterling. The country’s top-level domain is .co.uk and dialling code +44.

The economy

According to the International Monetary Fund, GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP) is 2,914,042 (millions of Current Int$) and nominal GDP is 2,624,529 (US$MM). GDP (PPP) per capita is 43,620 Int$ and GDP (nominal) per capita is 39,735 US$. Real GDP growth rate is 1.20%.

International ecommerce sales potential

Selling in the UK is worth considering for many international ecommerce merchants. It’s a large and active consumer market. If you’re already selling into the UK, you may be happy with your sales figures. However, you may have noticed that your UK, and your international traffic in general, converts at a much lower conversion rate than your domestic traffic, even in markets that share the same language.

The likely reason for this is that, even if your site and product descriptions are in the same language, you may not have addressed many of the other components of localization, that will impact conversion rate.

‍ A fully localized buying experience should address:

  • Ecommerce-optimized translation
  • Local marketing & SEO
  • Size & Currency conversion
  • International payment methods
  • Local shipping options
  • Tax & duties
  • Legals and local compliance
  • Local product restrictions

 

Online retailers used to do a great deal of manual work to expand globally, managing translation manually, matching product categories, attributes, sizes, etc.

Luckily, thanks to the developments in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), online merchants no longer have to spend time on ecommerce translation & localization when launching their stores abroad.

Machine learning technologies now provide automated translation, extract attributes, convert sizes and map the right category in an accurate, efficient and consistent way. To learn more about our cross border solutions, contact us.

Sell in the UK: Translate & localize your online store with Glopal

Sell with Glopal to reach new customers worldwide. Using powerful localization features, Glopal enables merchants to sell their products to global buyers in their language and currency.

Our Plug & Play solution takes 15 mins to install and is available for Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.  Custom integrations are available on our enterprise plan for other platforms.

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