Younger US Online Shoppers Opportunity for British Brands

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Pitney Bowes have released new findings from its latest BOXpoll survey highlighting the opportunity for British retailers with young US online shoppers. The survey of 1,254 US cross-border online shoppers finds one in four (25%) Generation Z consumers and more than one in five (22%) Millennials buy from UK online retailers once a month or more.

The key highlights are that there is strong demand for British brands, US shoppers demand delivery on a par with that they would expect from a domestic US brand, and if you can’t keep them informed of when their purchase will arrive with notifications and crucially give them a landed cost with any taxes paid up front then they’re not going to be your customer.

With the UK market impacted by constrained consumer spending, cross border is more important than ever. Pitney Bowes forecasts reveal one in every five ecommerce transactions around the world is likely to be cross-border in the next four years, with global cross-border sales expected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2025.

New UK-origin cross-border logistics services

The findings are announced as Pitney Bowes expands its portfolio of leading cross-border services, launching new UK-origin cross-border logistics services purpose-built to help UK retailers grow sales and reach consumers throughout Europe, in the US, and around the world.

Taking many elements of their previous all-in-one storefront, delivery and duty and tax calculations service, Pitney Bowes have broken the segments down so that you can now access just the parts that you need.

For instance, if you have already got logistics for outbound and returns in place or use a fulfilment service you can may now want the storefront service which localises your site with tax compliance and enables you to offer country specific pricing. Then you can add on checkout functionality with local payments and fraud checking. If you currently use services such as eBay GSP (highly recommended and powered by Pitney Bowes), you can use their logistics solutions to offer a similar level of service to US customers shopping on your own website.

US Online Shoppers Expectations

The BOXpoll survey reveals insights into the barriers US online shoppers face at checkout when buying from UK brands. Buyers show higher expectations and lower tolerance around the cost of shipping and returns, compared with last summer’s poll:  

  • 59% abandon their shopping cart because they do not want to pay the costs associated with returning items, up from 50% in 2021
  • 74% of buyers are held back by high shipping costs – up from 69% last year
  • Almost one in every two (47%) abandons their cart if duties are either not calculated or seem inaccurate, up from 44% in 2021

The results highlight the delivery times that US cross-border consumers find acceptable when buying a product online from a UK ecommerce site. The majority find seven days acceptable, with 44% saying they would still be happy with ten-day delivery. They are less tolerant after the ten-day mark, with 63% classifying 11-14 days as slow. The key is to set expectation on delivery times upfront at the checkout and then to meet those expectations.

Younger US consumers and their love of British brands present a fantastic opportunity for UK-based retailers, but these buyers are cost-conscious and experienced, with high service expectations. To win their business, sellers must replicate a best-in-class domestic ecommerce experience across borders, including fully-landed costs, reliable delivery time estimates, and accurate tracking. New Designed Cross-Border™ services from Pitney Bowes will make ecommerce logistics easier for UK retailers, helping them reduce complexity and risk while delivering an outstanding customer experience.

– Georges Berzgal, Senior Vice President International, Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce


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