Brexit and eCommerce: what does it all mean?

Brexit and eCommerce: what does it all mean?

Were you in, were you out? Did you shake it all about? Whatever your stance on Great Britain and the EU, the fact remains that the deal is done and the UK has voted to be cut adrift from our lederhosen-clad, flamenco-dancing cousins.

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But what does it all mean for eCommerce retailers? Until now, trading in the single market has been as easy as cracking The Sun’s junior crossword. Could that all be about to change?

What’s certain is a period of uncertainty, while Britain decides if it even has a leader, never mind a leader of the opposition. But what do the eRetail boffins say?

Managing Director of UK etail trade association IMRG Justin Opie says, “One obvious area that will need to be addressed concerns the regulations governing cross-border trade into EU countries, which are currently covered by EU legislation such as the consumer rights directive and data-protection directive.

“The fact is, Brexit may have a deep impact for online retailers or it may end up just seeming like business as usual, with a few minor tweaks.”

Meanwhile, Irish fulfillment platform Scurri has suggested that the UK could lose £33.4bn in e-commerce sales following Brexit. Oh dear. Pass the Prozac.

Rory O’Connor, Scurri Chief Executive, said, “In 2015, £455bn was spent by European consumers online on eCommerce sites – £157bn of this was from the UK alone. For 2016, this figure is expected to reach over £510bn for the whole of Europe but the UK’s expected increase of £33.4bn to £173.6bn in 2016 could be lost as a consequence of the Leave vote succeeding.

“This result is going to have quite a monumental effect on eCommerce sales in the UK and we have already seen proof of this with ASOS.com crashing for its users in the early hours of Friday morning since the official result was announced.

“Almost 10% of sales done on UK websites are from outside of the country, and now, this could all be threatened or even lost with consumers not willing to purchase their products off UK-based websites.”

International courier ParcelHero has called for the Government to negotiate hard for access to the single market and not seek to impose tariffs on EU imports into the UK. This, however, does seem a little bit like resigning from the tennis club but still asking for a regular doubles match and a G&T with the club captain.

ParcelHero Head of Consumer Research David Jinks said: “Many of ParcelHero’s SME business customers voted for Brexit and we understand entirely why they have done so. However, we are concerned for our customers about the possibility of increased costs in sending parcels to the EU and also receiving items from the Union.”

He added: “ParcelHero regularly ships to those countries that are in Europe but not in the EU, such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Parcels sent to these countries face customs delays, red tape and tariffs of between 5% to 9% on average. We hope that the UK will not find itself with similar customs charges and paperwork.”

Let’s hope so. Watch this space.

Click here for some more in-depth details on the research by ParcelHero

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Author Chris Painter

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