Uk Consumers Snub Local Merchants in Favour of European Alternatives Post-brexit and Pandemic

  • Payments
  • 13.07.2021 12:20 pm
  • 55% likely to buy from Western Europe and 45% from Northern Europe
  • Londoners are the most willing to buy from overseas versus those in the South West who are the most reticent
  • Despite ‘support local’ movements in the wake of the pandemic, buying from local retailers only matters to 14% of British shoppers, and only 8% prefer to buy from the UK 
  • The research of 2,000 consumers also found one in five people believe that most online reviews are fake, yet they remain an important consideration for nearly a third (30%) of shoppers 
  • Delivery options are also a key factor in driving sales, with attitudes to free delivery varying by generation -  76% Gen Z are willing to pay more for a product if free delivery is on offer 

Today, leading global payment service provider, emerchantpay, publishes the second and third instalments of its New World, One Market Report which examines consumer behaviour post-pandemic. The latest two chapters reveal stark differences in attitudes to the factors that influence a purchase decision, with splits across UK location and generational group.

The survey of 2,000 British consumers showed that despite the chaos surrounding Brexit, 55% are likely to buy from Western Europe and 45% likely to buy from Northern Europe. In addition, supporting local retail only mattered to 14% shoppers with just 8% preferring to buy from the UK, increasing to 18% of Baby Boomers and dropping to 1% of Gen Z. 3% of people said politics was a consideration when choosing where to buy an item. This paints a picture of a modern consumer uninfluenced by geographic boundaries or global dynamics.

Respondents from Greater London were consistently more likely to buy from countries other than the UK. The majority of Londoners said they were likely to buy from Western Europe if given the option (63%), and more than half (56%) said they would buy from North America. They were also most likely among those we surveyed to buy from Russia (21%), Eastern Asia (47%), Southern Asia (34%), South America (26%), Africa (28%) and the Middle East (27%). Northern Irish respondents were most likely to buy from Northern Europe (53%), and those in the South East were most likely to buy from Eastern Europe (35%). 

People in the South West were least likely among those we surveyed, to buy from countries other than the UK. 50% said they were unlikely to buy from South America if given the option. 48% declined to buy from Eastern Europe; almost a third (30%) wouldn’t buy from North America or Northern Europe; and almost a quarter (24%) wouldn’t buy from Western Europe. Welsh respondents were most likely among those who responded, to feel neutral about countries outside the UK.

Older generations are less loyal than their younger counterparts - and are less forgiving when it comes to delivery fees

More than half (55%) of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if delivery is free. Consumers are happy to spend 4.63% more on average. 

However opinions differ markedly by generational group: the majority of Gen Z (76%) and Millennials (62%) are willing to spend more, compared to the majority of Gen X (47%), Baby Boomers (62%) and the Silent Generation (56%) who are not. 

The average Gen Z consumer said they would pay up to £3.98 for delivery for an item up to £50 in value, versus Baby Boomers who are only willing to spend up to £1.74. The latter group was most likely to believe that delivery should always be free (48%).

Brand loyalty also appeared to decline with age: 7% of Gen Z and 9% of Millennials claimed not to be loyal to any brands. The same answer was given by 17% Gen X, 23% Baby Boomers and 31% Silent Generation. 

Drop in consumer trust following the pandemic

One in five people believe that more than half of online reviews are fake. However a third (30%) listed product reviews as an important consideration when choosing where to buy. 

More than a quarter (26%) said product reviews would encourage them to switch to another brand. But friends (75%) and relatives (71%) were the most important sources of advice for product recommendations, with social media influencing more than half (57%) of Gen Z.

In terms of sectors, respondents were most likely to remain loyal to grocery, food, drink or supermarket brands (49%), rising to 57% of those in the Baby Boomer generation, but dropping to 42% of Gen Z. By contrast, Gen Z were more likely to stay loyal to technology and gadgets brands (48%), or fashion, clothing and accessories (47%). Only 30% of Baby Boomers said they're loyal to particular fashion brands, with 35% instead remaining loyal to financial products.

In addition, our research found that 46% of shoppers feel that there is a greater risk of fraud now than before the pandemic. 50% believed there to be the same risk now as before - rising to 60% for Baby Boomers.

Jonas Reynisson, emerchantpay's Founder and CEO comments: “The rise of ecommerce has undoubtedly changed the way we shop and it’s great to see that Brits still look beyond geographic boundaries despite Brexit. When it comes to the things that influence where we buy or how much we spend, such as reviews or delivery charges, there are obvious differences between generational groups and it’s up to retailers to interpret these findings. One way or another, it’s up to merchants to make sure that the purchasing process is as smooth and efficient as possible to serve the needs of their customers, no matter where they are in the world.” 

This announcement follows the launch of the first chapter of the New World One Market report, which launched in May 2021.

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