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Black Friday starts early as international online sales grow 88%

Tom Bottomley
24 November 2020

International online sales increased by 88% in the first two weeks of November, compared to 2019, as Black Friday shopping started early, according to data from cross-border ecommerce leader eShopWorld (ESW).

The data shows strong year-on-year growth in both traditional and emerging markets, with Mexico (+376%), Chile (+312%), Israel (+304%) and Ireland (+220%) showing the strongest sales growth during the two-week time frame.

However, the growth is in contrast to data showing that UK consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level since May, 2020, highlighting the need for UK brands and retailers to embrace international sales opportunities – not just associated with the so called “golden quarter”, but for long-term business performance, as brands brace themselves for the fall-out of COVID-19 and the looming impact of Brexit on trade.

With lockdown directives varying from market to market, the 2020 “peak trading” period continues to be marked by unparalleled uncertainty as consumers increasingly shop online out of necessity, and retailers in a number of countries launch early discounting in preparation for an online only Black Friday.

Tommy Kelly, CEO of ESW, commented: “The strength of growth across both traditional and emerging markets is a clear bellwether for UK retailers and brands weary of the effect the double blow of Brexit and the pandemic has had on business.

“They must consider overseas markets for growth as adopting a multinational mindset will help grow sales, reach and brand loyalty, while mitigating against the potential loss of in-market sales.

“In 2020, our data shows the retailers who will ‘win’ - both in peak trading time and beyond - are those with a deep understanding of global market expectations, who can leverage that insight to engage directly with shoppers in the international markets in meaningful ways to grow long-term loyalty.”

ESW is the largest cross-border ecommerce provider globally, with the combined annual gross merchandise value transacted through its platform set to double in 2020 to nearly £1 billion.

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