Overseas online sales generated by UK retailers are expected to soar sevenfold to £28bn by 2020, according to new research.
According to research from OC&C Strategy Consultants in collaboration with Google, online sales from outside the UK will rocket from the £4bn generated in 2012.
OC&C and Google predict that international growth in online sales will outpace domestic growth and make up 40% of total online sales by 2020. In 2012, overseas online sales accounted for 14% of the total.
Research shows the growth will come from various regions as sales in western Europe are expected to soar to £9.8bn in 2020 from £1.5bn in 2012. According to OC&C and Google, these markets have low barriers to entry through the European Union, offering favourable trading conditions as well as ease of delivery across the continent.
Meanwhile, sales in emerging economies of central and eastern Europe are forecast to hit £6.9bn by 2020 from £400m in 2012, while sales in Asia are forecast to hit £4.5bn by 2020 up from £400m in 2012.
North America will continue to be the single largest regional market for British online goods and sales are expected to surge from £8 in 2012 to £2.7bn in 2020 but the growth rate will be slower than in other countries due to the relative maturity of the market and tougher competition from established national brands.
Searching online for British brands and retailers from overseas is growing on average by 46% a year since 2010.
Google director Peter Fitzgerald said: “We have seen a significant increase in the volume of searches for British retailers and brands coming from overseas.
“The majority of non-UK searches are currently coming from Europe, followed by North America and Asia, driven by the increased popularity of British brands abroad. Retailers can use search data to identify pockets of demand and move quickly to meet the needs of customers.”
Anita Balchandani, Partner at OC&C, said: “Ecommerce has transformed what was once a game anchored in local markets - with retailers choosing to expand internationally when they reached saturation nationally - into one where they can pursue internationalisation at the same time as domestic expansion.
“It is perhaps no surprise that companies like Amazon and eBay now generate about half of their revenues from international markets in a fraction of the time that it has taken the likes of Walmart and Tesco.”