Fastlane International have totted up this year’s shipments and revealed that their regular retail customers shipped over 25% more gifts to EU countries this Christmas compared to Christmas 2015.
The low value of the pound made UK purchases very tempting and long-term e-commerce retailers said they noticed a sizeable increase in the number of international visitors to their sites from people paying in sterling to take advantage of the low exchange rate.
The strong upturn in online purchases of UK gifts by EU and international consumers wasn’t restricted to Fastlane’s own retail and online marketplace traders. ASOS reported a whopping 50% jump in international sales over Christmas and the international accounting specialists BDO there was online sales growth for December of 19.0%, A significant percentage of this increase was from overseas buyers.
The trend was repeated on the High Street as international tourists spent 22% more on foreign bank cards in UK High Street stores this year. So called ‘Brexit tourists’ were worth £725 million to UK shops in the build-up to Christmas – £130 million more than last December. The amount spent by French and German tourists alone over the holiday period was up 14%.
There’s no doubt that this is due in part to the attractive cost of UK products for EU and international consumers, because of the low value of the pound. Ironically the Brexit vote has increased trade with our EU neighbours in the short term, by pushing down the value of sterling.
With sterling showing no signs of rallying against the Euro and Dollar and having just dipped below $1.20, British goods will remain attractively priced to customers in the EU and around the world for the foreseeable future. The only thing that may put a dent in the bonanza for retailers will be as they start to raise prices due to the increased cost of importing stock or raw materials from overseas.