· Last week of October marks the start of the Christmas ‘export window’
· US, Australia, Italy, France and Germany most keen on UK goods
· Fashion, electronics and collectibles most popular items for overseas buyers
· Festive ‘export window’ could be worth £765 for each seller on eBay.co.uk
London, 31st October 2014 - UK online merchants are expected to export a record £153 million worth of items this Christmas to online buyers all over the world, according the latest data from eBay.co.uk.
Between the end of October, to the middle of December, eBay merchants in the UK will ship fashion, electronics and collectibles items to markets as far afield as the U.S. and Australia (38% of UK exports last year), and closer to home to Italy, France and Germany (34% of UK exports). While exports to China and Hong Kong are lower, they are expected to import some of the most expensive items during this period, including tablet computers, smartphones, and British fashion brands.
Data from eBay.co.uk last year shows that Christmas sales to overseas buyers begins to ramp up from 27th October, marking the start of the Christmas ‘exporting window’ for UK sellers. The busiest online shopping period for exporters is during the first week of December but most cross border trade deals are wrapped up by December 15th.
eBay released the data to ensure that the 200,000 businesses on eBay.co.uk, 95% of whom sell overseas, are well prepared for the huge opportunity this Christmas. The expected festive ‘export window’ could be worth as much as £765 for each seller on eBay.co.uk.
Murray Lambell, Director of International Trade, eBay in the UK, said: “Cross border trade on eBay.co.uk is expected to grow from £127m last Christmas to £153m this year, representing a massive economic opportunity for the UK. British businesses should ensure they are ready from the end of October to take full advantage of the Christmas ‘export window’ and the significant global demand for UK brands and products. With the ability to reach over 152 million shoppers around the world 24/7, there is no better time than now to gear up for international market.”
Dominic Jermey, Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment, said: “It is fantastic to see the vast range of export opportunities for UK companies this coming festive season, from those countries on our doorstep to ones right across the world. With forecasts of 3 billion online consumers worldwide by 2017, we at UKTI recognise the potential for British businesses in online sales. That is why we have it wrapped with initiatives like the e-Exporting Programme we launched in September to help companies sell while they sleep.”
“I would like to encourage UK companies to seize this golden opportunity and help make sure it’s UK goods that fill Santa’s sleigh this Yuletide.”
eBay recently launched Russian, Spanish and Portuguese language websites, opening up markets such as Russia, Brazil, and China to UK merchants. The company has also extended its industry-leading commerce translation engine.
Top Ten eBay export tips for UK Businesses – Murray Lambell, Director of International Trade, eBay in the UK:
1. Seize the opportunity. Most companies are ready to export a long time before they feel they’re ready. The UK is one of the world’s most advanced e-commerce economies in terms of the brands, service and services we have online. Our businesses are truly world class; consumers globally recognise that and shop on UK sites as a result.
2. Look at which countries customers visiting your domestic website are coming from, it will give you a good idea of which countries to prioritise initially.
3. Don’t narrow your target audience too much. For example, we know that 81% of SMEs on eBay export to five or more countries and much of that international trade is from buyers around the world visiting the merchant’s domestic store.
4. Ensure you accept international payment methods (such as credit cards and PayPal). If customers can’t pay for goods they won’t buy from you.
5. Getting shipping right. Consumers are looking for speedy (3-5 day delivery in EU, 10-14 days in rest of world), low cost, and reliable shipping services. In some countries (e.g. the US) tracking is also considered to be the retail standard. Many good merchants offer the customer a choice of shipping service: one cheap, untracked service and one tracked, fast but more expensive service.
6. Once you’ve built up an international business from customers visiting your domestic site, consider translating your products into other languages.
7. On average your best selling products domestically will be your best selling products internationally, so focus on those first.
8. Use marketplaces such as eBay to reach an international audience in their local language with much lower upfront costs.
9. Minimise your upfront investment whilst you test and learn which markets and products are going to maximise profits for you. Test as many countries with as many products/propositions as you can to find the right combination for you before committing to any significant investment.
10. Don’t forget about your home market: offering free shipping domestically will have a significant impact on conversion rates and sales growth.
About Cross-Border Trade on eBay:
· Over 95% of British businesses on eBay, both big and small, export around the world, according to our latest report into global commerce
· 81% of small businesses operating on eBay.co.uk sell internationally to four or more countries. (Source – eBay Commerce 3.0 Roadmap, 2012.)
· UK sellers exported to over 200 countries and territories via mobile in 2013 (eBay internal data May 2014)
· UK businesses selling on eBay each export to an average of 39 counties – higher than anywhere else (eBay Inc Technology Enabled Global Trade report 2014)
· In 2013 15% of EU residents made a cross-border purchase (27% in Germany, 14% in France, 24% in UK) and in the EU, the number of consumers who have bought cross-border has doubled since 2008 (Source – Deloitte Omnichannel Opportunity report 2014 commissioned by eBay).
UK Trade and Investment is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.
UKTI recently launched the e-Exporting Programme, helping UK retailers and brands accelerate their global growth via online channels, including e-marketplaces like Ebay. For more information on support available for UK companies through the e-Exporting Programme, visit www.gov.uk/e-exporting
 Last year UK online merchants exported £127m worth of items. eBay Research Labs used insights from cross-border transactions on eBay.co.uk since 2010 to calculate that the Christmas export window in 2014 is expected to grow to £153m
 Expected Christmas ‘export window’ of £153m divided by the 200,000 or so businesses trading on eBay in the UK which is an average of £765 for each eBay seller