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How Brexit has affected online retail over the past 12 months

Laura  Barnes
How Brexit has affected online retail over the past 12 months

It has been one year since 51.9% of the voting population in the UK decided that leaving the European Union was best for Britain.

For most of that year, UK citizens haven’t known exactly what kind of Brexit deal we’ll be getting, what it means for their families and businesses, and when we’ll actually be leaving the EU.

This week, a year on from the result and two weeks after a turbulent snap election, we’re starting to see what we’re all in for.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has already commented on this week’s Queen’s Speech, calling it “encouraging news for retailers”.
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Now, PCA Predict has revealed how UK online shoppers reacted to key stages in the Brexit timeline over the past year.

The research analysed 10 key moments in the Brexit timeline for levels of online shopping among British consumers.

From 2016-2017, UK consumers, on a daily average, made 3,923,336 purchases online, according to PCA Predict. However, when this average is compared against key dates related to Brexit, consumers consistently held back on making purchases on these dates.

This month’s General Election saw the lowest level of online purchases, just 1,579,670 – a drop of 59% against the daily average.

This was followed by the day referendum results were announced, where 1,642,100 purchases were made in the UK – a drop of 58% against the daily average.

Brexit has seemingly shook consumers’ confidence.

Chris Boaz, head of marketing at PCA Predict

The day that the EU’s European Affairs ministers approved the European Commission’s negotiating proposals, giving Michel Barnier a mandate to start the process, saw 1,673,510 purchases made – a drop of 57% against the daily average.

On the day that Article 50 was triggered, 1,688,450 purchases were made – a drop of 56% against the daily average.

Finally, when the government introduces a 137-word bill in Parliament to win the right to trigger Brexit at the beginning of the year, 1,784,710 purchases were made – a drop of 54% against the daily average.

“Currently British consumers spend more than any other shoppers in Europe, accounting for nearly one third of all online purchases. Yet as our data shows, Brexit has seemingly shook consumers’ confidence,” said Chris Boaz, head of marketing at PCA Predict.

“This has serious implications for online retailers and shows how hard they now need to work to not only gain, but also retain customers. If a consumer can’t easily purchase something online, via the checkout, then a retailer is in trouble.

“Retailers can simplify this checkout experience by using smart address verification technology to ensure a parcel arrives to the correct address. Such technology speeds up the checkout process by minimising the amount of manual typing needed while ensuring the data entered is valid. This is crucial as in a separate piece of research we found that nearly half of consumers told us they would abandon purchases if the checkout process is too long.”

Fingers crossed the next 12 months are a little less eventful...

Tags: Retail , online retail , brexit , eu referendum , PCA Predict

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