Chinese consumers generate 25% of UK e-tail sales

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Research shows Chinese are biggest online buyers of British goods.

Chinese consumers are the biggest online buyers of British goods, followed by the US, according to new research by PayPal and Ipsos estimates.

Market analysis suggests 25% of cross-border consumers buying online from UK sellers are from China, while 18% are from the United States. 

Additionally, jewellery was shown to be the third most compelling reason to spend online internationally, with 17% of cross-border buyers purchasing in this category in the United States. 

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PayPal, which helps businesses to export online, commissioned further independent research from Ipsos, which interviewed more than 17,500 adults online in 22 markets. Overall, it discovered the UK was the third most popular shopping destination for international online shoppers, after the US and China.

In China, the most common reason for shopping internationally online is to buy clothes, footwear and accessories, according to the report. 45% of Chinese consumers have purchased product from these sectors from other countries in the last 12 months.

Additionally, 38% of Chinese consumers have purchased cosmetics and beauty products online from abroad, with 31% having paid for electronics, computers, tablets and mobile phones from overseas.

According to the Ipsos survey, 53% of Chinese online shoppers would buy online from sellers abroad as long as they provided a safe and reliable way to pay for goods, with 45% admitting customer support in their local language is a major draw. Free shipping and return shipping would also encourage 43% to spend.

In the United States, clothing, footwear and accessories are also the biggest reasons for international online shopping in the last year, with 34% of US cross-border shoppers surveyed buying these products from abroad in the past 12 months.

PayPal UK managing director Cameron McLean, commented: “Given the ongoing woes in the Eurozone, the strength of Chinese and US online demand for British goods will come as welcome news to British exporting businesses. We’ve seen that Chinese spending on Singles’ Day, the World’s biggest online retail sales day that took place earlier this month in China, generated billions of pounds in sales. This presents a huge opportunity for British businesses – particularly in retail, consumer electronics and cosmetics – if they access the market.

“The US is also a large consumer of British goods online, with consumers looking for clothes, toys, travel opportunities and jewellery from abroad. British businesses can capitalise on the international online shopping market, provided they can offer the right levels of safety, trust and translation to build consumer confidence.”

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