Report: UK “more important to continental Europe than vice versa”

29 Nov - 2017

Report: UK “more important to continental Europe than vice versa”

Shoppers across Europe are helping to turn the UK into the world’s third largest market for e-commerce trade

Britain has become a favourite online supermarket for shoppers across the EU, usurping the USA as the second largest market for e-commerce trade in some countries, according to a survey of online consumer habits by European payments company Trustly.

Consumers from Germany are some of the most eager online shoppers for UK goods and services, with 32% of Germans surveyed saying they have bought goods online from the UK in the past 12 months. In Italy (32%) and Sweden (30%), more shoppers bought goods online from the UK than they did from anywhere else, except China. The UK is now the third largest market for e-commerce trade in both Spain and the Netherlands, quickly gaining ground on Germany in terms of the value of e-transactions.

However, while Trustly’s State of Online Shopping report, published today, demonstrates the strength and pace of UK e-commerce, British shoppers are far less reliant on other EU countries for online goods, preferring to buy from China and the USA.

Further insight from the report shows:

Who are UK shoppers buying from? - Nearly one in four (38%) UK shoppers has bought something online from another country in the past 12 months. Of those, 45% purchased goods from China, 36% from the USA and 16% from Germany. Other online transactions were made in France (10%) and Spain (6%).

However, most people said they would do more cross-border shopping if they didn’t have to give out their card numbers to unknown foreign merchants (55%) or if they could get refunds quicker and easier (50%). More than half (52%) said the exchange rate was an issue when buying abroad.

What are UK shoppers buying? – Nearly six in ten (57%) UK shoppers have bought food and beverages online, making these the most frequent purchases by far. 17% of respondents said they have bought food and drink at least 11 times in the past 12 months. Other frequent purchases (more than 11 times in the past 12 months) include subscription services for film and TV (10%); online gambling (10%); clothes, accessories, shoes or jewellery (8%); videos and music (5%); and books, newspapers and magazines (5%).

Where are the UK’s target markets? – Online shoppers in Germany love to buy from Britain, with 32% of those buying abroad making at least one purchase from the UK in the past 12 months. This makes the UK the second largest destination for online shopping in Germany, after China.

Consumers from all but one of the Continental European countries surveyed said they bought goods more frequently from the UK than they did from the USA. The only exception was France, where online shoppers' favourite market was China (37%), followed by Germany (30%) and the USA (20%). The UK trailed fourth with 19% of online shoppers buying from the UK.

Oscar Berglund, CEO of Trustly, a Swedish-based online banking payment provider, said: “The UK continues to be an important market for European consumers. It is an established e-commerce nation and our report shows how UK cross-border online commerce export is significant with continental Europe.”

“The strong performance of UK retailers among EU shoppers reflects the highly developed online market that the UK has created, and the growth of this sector can only be good news for the UK, particularly post-Brexit.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with Nepa, a leading research bureau and the first partner of Facebook operating outside of the US.

About Trustly

Founded in 2008, Trustly Group AB is a Swedish FinTech company that makes online banking e-payments fast, simple and secure. The company offers cross-border payments to and from consumer bank accounts at over 3000 banks in 29 European markets and connects businesses and consumers within e-commerce, travel, gaming and financial services. In 2017, the Financial Times ranked Trustly as one of the fastest growing companies in Europe on the FT1000 list and the London Stock Exchange recognized Trustly as one of Europe’s most inspiring, fast-growing companies.

Trustly has 170 employees and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with regional offices in Spain, Malta, Germany and the UK. Trustly is a licensed Payment Institution under the supervision of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. Read more at

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Kristin Andersson, Head of Communications

Kristin Andersson

Head of Communications
Corporate Communications & PR