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Latest Issue: Autumn 2018

Trust and authenticity drive US shoppers to spend US$86 per month on UK sites

The average shopper in America spends $86 (£66) per month shopping on UK websites, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail. One in seven (14 per cent) American online shoppers have purchased from a UK site in the last three months. With global reach and the number one facilitator of eCommerce in the UK, Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry.

The main reason American shoppers buy from UK retailers is to purchase items that are exclusive to the UK (43 per cent), are better quality (21 per cent) and they know will be genuine (19 per cent). Nine in ten of these shoppers trust items purchased from UK sites not to be fake, three-quarters (74 per cent) buy from UK sites when products are not available locally and 71 per cent like to purchase British brands.

The ability to return items for free, track items in full, as well as having a clear returns policy is more likely to encourage American online shoppers to use UK sites. The option to pay in local currency and provide good customer service is also important.

Word of mouth is the most common way US shoppers discover UK websites. Purchases are also more likely to be unplanned and made in the process of shopping rather than specifically chosen beforehand.

Shopping habits of US consumers in general

The average shopper in America spends $103 (£79) per month shopping online. US shoppers make purchases twice a month and 79 per cent of total shopping spend happens online. The average American online shopper is fifty years old and is more likely to be female and live in a suburban setting.

Half of US shoppers make purchases via their smartphone (up from 32 per cent in 2015), compared to the International average of 44 per cent and UK average of 39 per cent. 80 per cent use a laptop or desktop to make online purchases and 24 per cent use a tablet.

When it comes to products, the top two categories are clothes (47 per cent) and books (25 per cent) for American online shoppers. Healthcare products (24 per cent) are also popular and shoppers are significantly more likely to purchase them compared to the International average of 15 per cent.

When it comes to returns, over a quarter (26 per cent) of American online shoppers have returned an item during the last three months. Two-thirds (66 per cent) would be unlikely to shop with a retailer following a difficult return experience.

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said “It’s important for retailers to understand the distinct shopping habits of consumers in different countries. Shoppers in the US are regularly purchasing goods online and increasingly using their smartphone to do so. Clothes and books are particularly popular but it’s interesting to see that Americans are more likely to purchase healthcare products than the International average.”