Brexit, one year on: How it’s affected ecommerce

The past year has brought a lot of uncertainty to Brits – whether they voted in or out in the 2016 referendum. The truth is that no one really knows what the future holds for the UK, but as we reach the 1st anniversary of the day the country voted, research from our Ecommerce Trends does show an interesting outcome for ecommerce.

Key dates and key findings

Over the last year, UK consumers made an average of 3,923,336 online transactions per day. However, we found that online sales plummeted on key Brexit dates. Here’s what we found:

  • A large drop in online sales was seen on 24th June 2016 when it was announced that the UK would be leaving the EU and David Cameron would be stepping down. We saw online sales fall by 59% to 1,579,670.
  • On 26th January 2017, the average number of online purchases dropped by a whopping 54% to 1,784,710 when the government published a bill to trigger article 50, and when article 50 was triggered 2 months later, the number of purchases dropped by an even greater 57% compared to the daily average.
  • The 22nd May saw Brexit talks begin, and Michael Barnier given a mandate to start the process. On this day, we found that 1,673,510 online purchases were made, which was 57% lower than the daily average.
  • On the 8th June 2017, a huge drop in online sales was seen as election results were announced. We found that 1,642,100 online sales were made, which was a reduction of 58% against the daily average.

Best performing sectors

Despite the drop in sales, the fashion industry has continued to flourish without major dips in online sales. This was followed by the food and drink industry, suggesting that leisure and style are still very important to British people, and still very much a part of their lives.

What about summer sales?

The 2017 summer sales have just started in the UK and we have already seen a reduction in the number of online sales compared to the same time last year. June 21st 2016 brought about 1,810,280 purchases on the first day of the sales, but this year that number has dropped to just 1,703,860. So, what does that mean for the future of post-brexit online sales?

Consumer confidence

It’s apparent that consumers have been shaken by Brexit, with worries over a range of issues such as employment, wages and economy. This is a big problem for retailers, who now more than ever should be looking at ways to keep customers happy. If you have customers visiting your store, the last thing retailers want is for unnecessary friction to drive them away from making a purchase. Instead, retailers must ensure that they have given their sites a health check, making sure that areas such as the checkout are working to their best ability.

What does the future hold?

Without a crystal ball, it’s difficult to predict what a post-brexit world will be like for the UK, but it seems likely that consumers will shop with caution until stability increases confidence. Until then, it is really important for retailers to make potential shoppers’ online experiences easier, making sure they can move through the site and checkout without issues.

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