Sendcloud – UK- EU e-commerce deliveries plummet

In the first quarter of 2021 e-commerce deliveries to the UK from the EU collapsed by over 50% by comparison to 2020, according to research from shipping platform Sendcloud.

The UK government’s Office of National Statistics has reinforced Sendcloud’s research, showing that imports from the EU fell by £6.6 billion in January, the biggest drop on record.

Bureaucracy impacts such e-commerce imports. In order to export into the UK, e-commerce sellers in the EU must register for VAT in the UK, and import duties add to the final cost of the items buyers are buying.

Where goods that are made mostly in the EU attract no duty, any goods bought from inside the EU that are made from outside the bloc are not tax-exempt.

Fashion retailer Asos fall between the two, with clothes made in the EU using elements that are made from outside the EU. These incur import duties too. Asos reckon this will cost them £15 million in 2021.

Sendcloud’s research showed that 51% of customers were put off by higher delivery costs and a further 32 over increased delivery times. Some 38% of those surveyed showed concern over increased customs duties.

“Brexit shouldn’t stop retailers from buying and shipping abroad, yet it’s clear from these results that many retailers are struggling to overcome post-Brexit delivery issues,” Sendcloud’s founder and chief executive Rob van den Heuvel said.

“As a result, consumers are much less likely to buy internationally.

“To continue smooth international trade to our European neighbours, it’s important for UK retailers to streamline their international shipping. A futureproof strategy requires a thorough understanding of international trade rules and the impact they will have on day-to-day operations.”

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