Pitney Bowes BOXpoll – Continued demand for UK online retailers among overseas shoppers

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Pitney Bowes have revealed new BOXpoll data which uncovers fresh insight into cross-border buyer behaviours, trends and product preferences. The data reveals continued demand for UK online retailers among overseas shoppers. Demand is highest among buyers located in the US and China, with more than one in ten US consumers buying from UK retailers at least once a month. This research is announced as Pitney Bowes forecasts reveal one in every five ecommerce transactions is likely to be cross-border in the next four years.

BOXpoll reveals top countries buying from the UK

BOXpoll consulted 1000 shoppers in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany and South Korea. Results revealed continued demand for UK online retailers from cross-border buyers, with the following buying online with UK retailers at least once a month:

  • 18% of shoppers in China
  • 12% shoppers in the US
  • 10% of shoppers in Australia
  • 10% of shoppers in South Korea

This is hyper interesting as whilst the US and Australia are two of the most common countries for UK retailers to target, China and South Korea are two of the countries we see fewest UK retailer marketing to. Whilst these two countries may be more difficult logistically and bureaucratically to serve, plus the challenge of language and localisation, the appetite for UK goods is clear to see.


Buyers located in Europe UK bought less often, with 8% of shoppers in Germany and 6% in France shopping online with UK brands at least once a month. BOXpoll asked consumers whether they were purchasing less as a direct impact of Brexit. 28% of German shoppers and 24% of French shoppers agreed they were buying less for that reason.

The poll also found consumers who shop online with UK retailers will increase the amount that they do so, after the threat of the pandemic has decreased. Of those that buy from UK online retailers:

  • Consumers in Australia, Canada, China, France and South Korea say that more of their online purchases will come from UK retailers once the pandemic is over
  • Buyers in China say that 42% of all online purchases they plan to make once the pandemic is over will be with UK retailers
  • Those in France and South Korea say one in four of every online purchase they make post-pandemic will be with a UK-based retailer

The data also highlights which products US consumers are buying from UK brands and uncovers buyer preferences by generation. Clothing is the most popular for US shoppers – particularly among Generation Z buyers – followed by jewellery, toys and gifts, for which millennials showed the highest propensity to buy.

Cross border barriers for consumers

With global cross-border sales expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 20252, the poll reveals there are still some barriers to overcome if UK-based retailers are to capitalise on the opportunity, deliver a competitive customer experience and minimise shopping cart abandonment. When US shoppers were asked for the main reasons they abandon their purchase when shopping online with UK brands, the results revealed:

  • 69% of buyers abandon their cart “frequently” or “occasionally” if shipping costs are too high
  • 62% do so if delivery time is too long
  • 46% do so because “The site did not clearly explain whether the retailer shipped to my country”
  • One in two do so because they think the cost of returns will be too high
  • 44% do so because they did not want to risk paying for import duties at package pick-up
  • 44% do so because the duties and taxes weren’t calculated or seemed inaccurate

“After the turbulence of the past two years, this data should bring hope to UK retailers. Demand for British brands is high among overseas buyers, particularly in the US, but retailers cannot underestimate the importance of a transparent, cost-effective cross-border shipping and returns strategy. They can’t afford to lose almost seventy percent of their buyers at checkout. The right ecommerce partner will help them resolve this. Pitney Bowes provides many of the world’s best-known brands with technology, logistics and certified expertise, including cross-border delivery, leaving them free to capitalise on the opportunity and drive sales.”
– Georges Berzgal, Senior Vice President, Global Ecommerce, Pitney Bowes


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