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London · January 05, 2022

UK cross-border shopping declines by 71%

Shipping costs, supply chain challenges and additional customs charges the primary drivers.

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New research commissioned by Adyen, the payments platform of choice for many of the world's leading companies, reveals that UK cross-border retail has declined sharply in the last year.

Against the backdrop of lorry driver shortages, supply chain challenges, the coronavirus pandemic and changes to import processes, the number of British shoppers making purchases from other countries has declined 71% since July 2020.

Most shoppers (54%) agree that the delivery partner is an important factor when choosing to shop online with a retailer. Additionally, 37% of shoppers said they will only buy something from abroad if the delivery charge is reasonable.

The fear of unexpected additional taxes and charges associated with buying products is also a challenge for retailers, with 30% of shoppers saying they have avoided shopping with a retailer from another country for this reason.

Accommodating consumer payment preferences could help drive cross border commerce, as one in five shoppers (22%) say they will only shop abroad if they can use their usual payment methods, and 20% expect prices to be displayed in their local currency.

“Cross-border commerce is an important revenue stream for retailers, especially in the context of the pandemic recovery,” said Colin Neil, Managing Director, Adyen UK. “If Brits are finding it harder to shop abroad, you can be sure that shoppers from other countries will have similar experiences, which is a big concern for those UK retailers trying to sell internationally.”

“While global supply chain challenges and international customs charges are out of the control of retailers, there are many things they can do to make cross-border commerce easier. Things such as converting currencies and accepting common payment methods from other countries for online shoppers are low cost, and straightforward ways to simplify the experience, but they have massive impact. In an age where every sale counts in retail, these small tweaks can be all the difference.”

The research is part of a report on the state of the UK retail sector, titled The Expectation Gap, which is available to download here. Research was conducted by Censuswide and Opinium on behalf of Adyen, polling 358 retailer decision makers and 2,000 consumers respectively.


About Adyen Adyen (AMS: ADYEN) is the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, providing a modern end-to-end infrastructure connecting directly to Visa, Mastercard, and consumers' globally preferred payment methods. Adyen delivers frictionless payments across online, mobile, and in-store channels. With offices across the world, Adyen serves customers including Spotify, Schuh, Joe & The Juice, Space NK, Mulberry and Fat Face.

About the Research Consumer research was conducted by Opinium Research between 7-10 September 2021, polling 2,000 UK adults. Responses are weighted to be nationally representative. Retailer research was conducted by Censuswide between 1-9 September 2021, polling 358 retail decision makers.