For many years, the UK has been at the forefront of e-commerce and multi-channel retail. But in 2021, the combined impact of COVID-19 and Brexit has had a profound impact on the market.
While the pandemic has fuelled the British appetite for online purchases, Brexit has added many complications on imports and exports.
Although the UK faces challenges to long-established business models stemming from the Brexit fallout, the economy is still predicted to grow at a rate of 5.5% in 2021.
What is it that makes UK e-commerce so resilient and how can e-tailers benefit from that resilience?
To find out, we spoke to Marie Barrance, Sales Director at Asendia UK, who has spent her entire career in the world of mail and parcels with some of the biggest names in retail. As an expert in customer experience and challenges, she gives her insight into the future of e-commerce in the UK.
Q&A with Marie Barrance
Sales Director, Asendia UK
What, for you, has been the most interesting recent development in UK e-commerce?
The purchase of the Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands by Boohoo, and Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge by ASOS, is massive news. These are major British high street brands with a long heritage and the deals illustrate how the power has shifted from traditional brick and mortar retail to online. Maybe this will be a wake-up call to other traditional retailers that haven’t embraced e-commerce as much as they should have done.
Will consumers miss the in-store shopping experience?
I do think people will want to hit the shops. The British still love to shop, to see and feel products, and to socialise. But for sure, this bounce will flatten off and those millions of people who have only taken to buying online since the pandemic aren’t going to put down the mouse completely. They’ve discovered the benefits online shopping offers and while year-on-year growth in e-commerce retail was expected, the pandemic has accelerated this significantly.
Want to know more?
For an in-depth, detailed analysis of developments in UK e-commerce, and to read the rest of Marie‘s interview, download the UK 2021 E-commerce Country Report for free.