British shoppers spent £7.7 billion online from overseas retailers in 2016, according to new research from VoucherCodes.co.uk.
This amount increased by £1 billion since 2015 and shows no signs of slowing, despite fears surrounding Brexit. VoucherCodes.co.uk predicts customers will increase their spending abroad by 8.9% this year, rising to a total spend of £8.4 billion.
Despite this positive outlook, the research concluded that UK shoppers are least likely to purchase from overseas compared to their European neighbours. In 2016, cross-border sales accounted for 12.8% of total online sales, while Germany, France and the Netherlands reported shares as high as 25%.
But Brits make up for this slow growth somewhat in spend, as UK shoppers are predicted to spend much more than their European counterparts this year – the UK is forecast to spend £8.4 billion abroad, while Spain is thought to spend only £1.9 billion.
“Brexit or no Brexit, cross-border trade is becoming increasingly attractive to consumers for so many reasons. Not only does it allow shoppers the access to so many more products at potentially cheaper prices, but delivery options are developing enabling customers to get the products delivered faster than ever, particularly for countries that are in close proximity," said Claire Davenport, MD at VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot.
"More and more retailers are now expanding internationally and often the customer is not even aware they are making an overseas purchase. With varied payment options widely available and simplified return policies, consumer confidence in cross-border trade is growing at an unprecedented rate and is offering a fantastic solution for both consumers seeking lower cost and available items, and retailers looking to increase global sales."
The VoucherCodes.co.uk research also reported the increase of mobile wallet services, including Apple and Android Pay, with 10% of UK shoppers using these methods to pay for online purchases. But debit cards remain a firm favourite, with 41% of Brits choosing to pay with them online, followed by credit cards (37%).