Revealed: the exporting and importing hotspots for UK businesses

Revealed: the exporting and importing hotspots for UK businesses

Key points

  • With global reach and the leading enabler of ecommerce in the UK, Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry
  • UK businesses export the most parcels to the USA, France and Germany 
  • UK businesses send the most letters to Germany, Ireland and France 
  • The most imports for parcels come from China and the most inbound letters come from the USA

At Royal Mail, we looked at our data for the previous financial year (2017 - 2018) to reveal the top exporting and importing hotspot destinations for UK businesses around the world.

Our data revealed that the USA, the largest economy in the world according to World Economic Forum, is the UK’s top exporting hotspot for business parcels. France, Germany, Australia and Ireland complete the top five list, respectively. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the USA has been the UK’s top exporting hotspot for business parcels over the last four years. France and Germany have also featured in the top five for UK business parcels over this time period.

Export business parcels

 

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

1

USA

USA

USA

USA

2

France

France

Germany

France

3

Germany

Germany

Australia

Germany

4

Australia

Canada

France

Australia

5

Ireland

Italy

Ireland

Ireland

6

Canada

Australia

Canada

Italy

7

Italy

Ireland

Italy

Canada

8

Spain

Spain

Norway

Norway

9

Japan

Japan

Switzerland

Spain

10

China

China

China

Belgium

 

When it comes to letters, UK businesses currently send the most to Germany, Ireland and France, respectively. Ireland has been in the top two for the last four years but this is the first time in that four year period that Germany has taken the top spot. The USA and Australia also feature in the top five.

Export business letters

 

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

1

Germany

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

2

Ireland

France

Germany

Germany

3

France

USA

USA

France

4

USA

Germany

France

USA

5

Australia

Australia

Australia

Australia

6

Italy

Italy

Italy

Italy

7

Spain

Spain

Canada

Spain

8

Canada

Canada

Spain

Canada

9

Japan

Japan

Switzerland

Switzerland

10

Switzerland

Switzerland

Netherlands

Belgium

 

The top five countries that the UK imports goods from remains unchanged over the last three years. China leads the way followed by Germany, the USA, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Import parcels

 

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

1

China

China

China

2

Germany

Germany

Germany

3

USA

USA

USA

4

Netherlands

Netherlands

Netherlands

5

Switzerland

Switzerland

Switzerland

6

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

7

Belgium

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

8

Hong Kong

Belgium

Singapore

9

France

Australia

Belgium

10

Australia

France

Australia

      

For letters, the most inbound have come from the USA for the last three years. France and Germany are also in the top three destinations.

Import letters

 

2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

1

USA

USA

USA

2

Germany

France

Germany

3

France

Germany

France

4

Switzerland

Australia

Australia

5

Ireland

Switzerland

Ireland

6

Netherlands

Ireland

Switzerland

7

Australia

Netherlands

Netherlands

8

Canada

Canada

Canada

9

Spain

Spain

Spain

10

Malaysia

Sweden

Malaysia

 

Ecommerce is becoming increasingly globalised in today’s global market. Exporting and importing is key to the success of many businesses – small, medium or large – and it is crucial that they select a delivery partner that is committed to a secure and efficient service. Royal Mail’s scale and global reach make us the natural choice for such businesses.

If you are looking to start targeting international customers or to increase your visibility overseas, follow these simple tips from our experts at Royal Mail:

  • Make your delivery charges affordable

Retailers should offer affordable delivery to overseas customers, otherwise they won’t buy. The cost of carriage should not exceed one third of the price of the goods and free delivery is an attractive option for many customers.

  • Be clear about customs charges

Most non-EU shoppers are concerned about customs charges – many websites have intimidating warnings, suggesting that customs charges can often be prohibitive. However, sales within the EU incur no customs charges at present.

  • Make sure international payment works

Most international buyers use MasterCard or Visa and Maestro is becoming increasingly popular. Also consider offering Paypal.

  • Translate your website

If you have identified a target market overseas that is non-English speaking, then translate your website and make sure it is searchable in the target language.

  • Convert your prices

Create a simple to use tool that will translate your prices into euros, dollars or the currency of your target markets.

  • Provide customer support

Unless targeting a country where a majority of the population can speak English (e.g. Sweden, Netherlands), it is important to offer some degree of support in the local language. Offer an email, phone number or live chat support and remember to consider time differences.

  • Check out the local competition

Make sure you understand the local pricing structures, service expectations and nuances of your target country.

Wherever you want to send a letter or a parcel, at Royal Mail we can deliver. Our outlook and our networks are international – we provide letter and parcel services to and from countries around the world.

Royal Mail has helped many businesses to sell overseas, including Biscuiteers. Royal Mail enables the company to sell handmade biscuits, chocolates and macaroons all over the world. See more information here.

Royal Mail's export hotspots

 

Royal Mail's import hotspots

Notes:

The data is based on Royal Mail net revenue for the financial year:

  • 2017 export and import data is based on figures from April 2017 – March 2018
  • 2016 export and import data is based on figures from April 2016 – March 2017
  • 2015 export and import data is based on figures from April 2015 – March 2016
  • 2014 export data is based on figures from April 2014 – March 2015

 

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