Let’s start with the demographic composition of the UK:

The median age of the UK population is 40.5 years, with females making up a slightly higher percentage of the total population at 50.6%.

Before the pandemic, the localized buying needs and habits of UK consumers were very strong and difficult to change, but we can now see a change in the market balance, along with diversification of foreign consumer’s buying habits.

Jessica Zhou, Sales Director of Exelot in China said that seller partners, especially new ones in the category selection, can be made from two perspectives: positive and negative. From a positive perspective, we can study the reality of China’s exports to the UK.

It is reported that from 2019 to 2021, the top three product categories of cross-border e-commerce exports to the UK from China were hair wigs, women’s clothing, and jewelry. On the other hand, we can take a closer look at what consumers in the UK are buying in general. According to Statista, 55% of the UK population shops online and the most popular items purchased online fall into the categories of clothing and sporting goods. The least popular services and products for online consumers are bicycles, mopeds, cars, or other parts and accessories, with less than 10% of households choosing to buy such goods online.


Judging by current consumer behavior, the categories of outdoor sports, special apparel, watches, footwear, underwear, beauty, health (driven by prevention), mother and child, and accessories are likely to experience high growth in online sales, presenting good opportunities for seller collaboration and partnerships.

In terms of clothing and footwear, British online consumers in 2021 purchased dresses, trench coats, leather jackets, rain boots, canvas shoes, scarves, and blazers. Keyword search volumes revealed the popularity of accessories featuring pearl elements, oversized items, printed designs, striped fabrics, leopard print and the color navy blue among others. Therefore, with regard to independent sites or platforms for cross-border merchants, it is advisable to set more relevant keywords to accurately target consumers’ buying preferences and market goods. These are some of the major opportunities and hot category trends in the UK e-commerce market, that offer great prospects for growth.

6 reasons why you should be interested in penetrating the UK e-commerce market:


UK e-commerce market size (2021): £80,678 million.


Increased online shopping was a significant trend in 2020, with 45.4 million digital buyers in the UK accounting for 81.1% of the population.


The UK saw record retail e-commerce sales in 2020, totaling $180.39 billion, with a third from China ($2,296.95 billion) and the U.S. ($794.50 billion). However, as the market recovers from the initial Covid-19 peak, we will see a 6.3% drop in UK retail e-commerce sales to $169.02 billion, according to (eMarketer).


The average amount of money British people spent online in 2020 was €1020.


UK Internet penetration rate is 97%.


In the pandemic year of 2020, global e-commerce rode the wave, with the UK performing particularly well. According to Ofcom’s report, British people spent £1,413.3 million online, with e-commerce sales accounting for more than 30% of total UK retail sales for the first time, underscoring the incredible purchasing power of British consumers.