New shipping requirements and VAT charges are deterring consumers from buying internationally

Online deliveries to the UK from Europe have plummeted by more than half in the first quarter of 2021, new data has found.

EU to UK shipments are down 50.7% compared to Q4 2020, with new shipping requirements and additional VAT charges have had a dramatic effect on the number of parcels being shipped to the UK.

The findings, from e-commerce shipping platform Sendcloud, highlight the delivery issues facing online retailers as they battle to overcome post-Brexit delivery complications.

New ONS figures showed the value of imports from the EU dropped by £6.6bn in January 2021 – the biggest drop since records began.

Research has shown high delivery costs (51%), potential customs charges (38%) and lengthy delivery times (32%) are putting UK consumers off purchasing from international stores.

Speaking on the data, Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and Co-founder at Sendcloud, said: “Brexit shouldn’t stop retailers from buying and shipping abroad, yet it’s clear from these results that many retailers are struggling to overcome post-Brexit delivery issues. As a result, consumers are much less likely to buy internationally.

“To continue smooth international trade to our European neighbours, it’s important for UK retailers to streamline their international shipping. A futureproof strategy requires a thorough understanding of international trade rules and the impact they will have on day-to-day operations.

Van den Heuvel added: “When moving goods between the UK and EU, remember to have an EORI number and add a Commercial Invoice, as well as a CN22 or CN23 depending on the chosen carrier. Preparing for local VAT and duty policies is also necessary as many consumers and retailers have already been caught out from additional charges.”

By Alison