Overseas sales remain important as online retailers express confidence for 2019, says Royal Mail

Overseas sales remain important as online retailers express confidence for 2019, says Royal Mail

Key points

  • Almost seven in ten (69 per cent) UK SME online retailers express confidence that sales will increase in 2019
  • The biggest perceived challenges for online retailers this year are economic instability in the UK, pricing goods competitively, attracting new customers and growing competition in the online space
  • 68 per cent of retailers experienced an uplift in sales last year, YOY
  • 73 per cent of retailers expect costs to be higher in 2019, compared to last year
  • 70 per cent of surveyed retailers sell overseas, selling the most to Europe, USA and Asia
  • In 2019, 68 per cent of retailers intend to increase their international sales revenue

Almost seven in ten (69 per cent) UK SME online retailers are confident that their sales will increase in 2019, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail.

With global reach and the leading enabler of ecommerce in the UK, Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry.

The biggest perceived challenges for UK SME online retailers in 2019 are economic instability in the UK, pricing goods competitively, attracting new customers and growing competition in the online space. 68 per cent of retailers experienced an uplift in sales last year, compared to the previous year. However, 73 per cent of online retailers expect costs to be higher in 2019.

The study also found 70 per cent of UK SME online retailers currently sell overseas. These retailers sell the most to Europe, USA and Asia.

UK retailers are looking overseas to increase their sales. In 2019, 68 per cent of UK SME online retailers intend to increase their international sales revenue. This is up from 64 per cent this time last year. Key plans for increasing international sales revenue include: simplifying the sales/ordering/delivery and payment process (46 per cent), selling more to the markets they already sell to (31 per cent) and targeting new markets and countries (25 per cent).

When asked which destinations they intend to start selling to in 2019, Europe, USA and Canada came out on top for UK SME online retailers. In terms of prospects, Europe is perceived to hold the greatest opportunity for overseas sales, followed by USA and Asia. 

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said “Although obvious challenges exist in 2019, it’s promising to see the level of business confidence from UK SME online retailers. Retailers are focusing on the opportunities they have for growth and are looking at how to be successful both in the UK and abroad. At Royal Mail, we already support many retail businesses in delivering against these opportunities. We make exporting as simple as possible by giving UK SME online retailers the tools they need and we look forward to working with even more of these great businesses this year.”

Ends

Note to editors

The research was independently conducted by Illuminas and based on a representative sample of 301 UK SME online retailers.

For journalist enquiries contact:

Jasmin Prichard, Royal Mail press office

Email: jasmin.prichard@royalmail.com

Royal Mail press office: 020 7449 8246

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