The UK is the world’s third most popular shopping destination for international online shoppers, according to new research from PayPal.

PayPal’s research found an estimated 86.4 million of those from the 29 countries surveyed bought from the UK in the last 12 months, with people stating they were attracted by the variety, quality and authenticity of products available on British websites.

While the established growth markets of China, USA, France and Germany continue to lead the way in buying British, the study also reveals that Nigeria and India present new areas of opportunity for the nation’s businesses. In the last year, an estimated 5.8 million Nigerians and 4.9 million Indians bought from the UK, placing them 5th and 6th in the list of online buyers of British goods.


In the UK’s top four online export markets, the survey found desktop computers remain consumers’ preferred device for internet shopping. Yet smartphones continue to close the gap, signalling the growing importance of mobile commerce for the nation’s businesses. For example, 86% of Chinese online shoppers now say they shop via a mobile device, with 83% of cross-border shoppers using their smartphone to purchase abroad.

Cameron McLean, PayPal UK managing director, says: “As the world’s third most popular destination for online shoppers, Britain is punching well above its weight when it comes to global e-commerce. Yet there is still a wealth of opportunities out there for any company willing to look beyond traditional markets and sales channels. The most successful businesses will be the ones that target less established, high-growth markets whilst also setting themselves up to capitalise on the vast, borderless potential of mobile.”

Despite the emergence of other markets, an estimated 21.9 million of the shoppers buying British online are based in China, reinforcing the country’s importance to any business keen to expand its international sales.