We might be in the middle of a rather messy divorce from the European Union; but European shoppers didn’t let Brexit put them off buying British goods this Christmas. The global internet delivery expert Fastlane International says its regular retail customers shipped over 25% more gifts to EU countries this Christmas than in 2015.
Says Fastlane International’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT: ‘This Christmas proved a good one for online sellers; in no small part because EU shoppers spent handsomely on British products. The low value of the pound made UK purchases very tempting. Our 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.’
Explains David: ‘The numbers are a little tricky to crunch, as Fastlane is growing rapidly and so is e-commerce as a slice of overall retail spending; but certainly our regular retail clients shipped at least 25% more gift items to EU customers this Christmas than last year. After a good Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales went rather flat from UK buyers; but EU consumers grew further in the first weeks of December.’
Adds David: ‘The strong upturn in online purchases of UK gifts by EU and international consumers has not been 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.’
And it’s a trend 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%.
Concludes David: ‘Overall it has been a pretty good festive period for UK retailers; particularly for e-commerce sites. But 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. Whether Europe’s consumers will save Britain’s Christmas next year too remains to be seen!’