Online deliveries from the EU to the UK have divebombed by more than 50 per cent since January as Brexit regulations stop shoppers from buying abroad.
In the first quarter of 2021 ecommerce deliveries from across the channel dropped by more than a half compared to the final quarter of 2020, according to new research from shipping platform Sendcloud.
Separate research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) supported Sendcloud’s figures, showing that the value of imports from the EU dropped by £6.6 billion in January, the biggest fall on record.
After the UK officially left the EU’s trading block in January, sellers from the EU have been required to register for VAT in the UK, while buyers are often lumped with higher costs from import duties.
While goods manufactured entirely inside the EU attract no customers fees when being imported to the UK, any goods coming from the EU which were manufactured elsewhere do not qualify as tax-exempt.
Even items which have individual parts manufactured outside the EU will incur costs, which fashion giant Asos estimates will cost it £15 million in tariffs this year alone.
According to Sendcloud 51 per cent of customers were put off by higher delivery costs and 32 per cent by increased delivery times, while 38 per cent were concerned about increased customs charges.
“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.”