Peak in online sales to EU not just a post-Brexit blip

The share of online orders going to the EU has reached a four-year high, new data has revealed.

According to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, online retail delivery order volumes in July were up by 16.5 per cent year on year.

The growth in volume of parcels outstripped online retail sales revenue growth in July, which was up by 11 per cent. This suggested that discounting during the summer sales period may have accounted for a significant portion of these sales, IMRG has claimed.

The drop in the pound since the Brexit vote has also drove a “notable” increase in the percentage of orders going to international destinations.

July saw 29.6 per cent of all delivery index volumes going cross-border, compared with 26.6 per cent in July 2016 and 24.4 per cent in July 2015.

The split between EU and non-EU destinations was fairly evenly split in the past. However, in July, the percentage going to the EU reached 62.7 per cent, compared with 55.3 per cent in the same month last year.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, commented: “The established trend up until 2015 was for a month-on-month rise between June and July in the Delivery Index, but last year this line flattened out and in July 2017 we saw a monthly dip of 2.6 per cent. Last year was an exceptional time, of course, being the month directly following the Brexit referendum, and July this year followed an exceptionally warm June that brought heatwaves. But it may be that we are also starting to record some impact of the establishment of Amazon Prime Day as a major sales event – the Delivery Index does not include marketplace orders, so some of the volume may be shifting over in connection with Prime Day.”

Chris Hoskin, head of marketing at MetaPack, said: “We can see a consistent rise in cross-border orders, which over the past three months have all been over 60 per cent of the total. While we could assume that this is to do with the pound and the beneficial prices that overseas consumers are enjoying, we believe it is also part of a wider trend. As long as UK retailers can offer quality products with great delivery options at good prices, overseas customers are happy to make their purchases, and we have every reason to believe this will continue even once the UK is out of the EU.”