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Retailers get a post-Brexit bounce as foreign shoppers buy British

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

- Foreign card spending volumes accelerated by 3.4% in the month after Brexit

- Non-UK card spend particularly strong online, with volume growth up 5.3%

- Average transaction values increase by 8.8%

Non-UK shoppers are taking advantage of post-Brexit currency fluctuations to snap up a bargain in Britain, according to the latest data from Worldpay. 

Retail transactions tracked by the payment processor in the pre and post-Brexit referendum period show a significant rise in foreign card spending in the month following the result, with volume growth up by 3.4%1.  This boost in non-UK card sales was particularly pronounced online, where growth accelerated by 5.3% post-Brexit, while bricks and mortar retailers also experienced a solid 3.0% increase in growth. 

Dave Hobday, UK Managing Director, Worldpay, said: “Britain’s rich mix of large and independent retailers has always attracted foreign shoppers to our shores. However, recent currency fluctuations have meant that there’s never been a better time to ‘Buy British’ for overseas consumers. 

“This has provided a welcome boost to UK retailers following a period of uncertainty and challenge on the high street. Our data shows that the sector has been bolstered by visitors to the UK. Whilst the positive trend online also means retailers need to be thinking about an ecommerce strategy which allows them to capitalise fully on the current competitiveness of UK products internationally.”  

It’s not just the volume of non-UK card transactions that have seen an increase. Further analysis by Worldpay has shown that visitors are also spending more, with an 8.8% increase in basket value in the post-EU referendum period2. The average value of instore transactions for non-UK cards has risen by 11% from £39.88 to £44.28 since the Brexit vote. 

Online figures have also followed a similar trend, with Worldpay data showing an average transaction value of £126.79. This is a 10.9% increase year on year and 8.6% up on the period before the 23rd June. 

Analysis of the regional distribution of non-UK card spend suggests that retailers across the country are benefitting from growth in foreign sales3

Unsurprisingly, Britain’s most popular tourist city, London has experienced a strong increase with non-UK card transaction volumes up 4.6% versus the pre-Brexit period, and average transaction values increasing by 14% to £58.61. 

However, it is not just the Capital which has shown positive growth in volume of foreign spending following the EU referendum. The East and West Midlands saw 7.4% and 5.7% growth, respectively whilst Yorkshire also saw a substantial 7.2% increase. Wales saw a modest increase of 0.5% with Scotland showing a small decline in growth following the result, down 1.5%. 

The biggest winner in non-UK card spend following the Brexit result however was Northern Ireland, which saw an extraordinary 23.4% spike in volumes, possibly due to visitors from the Republic of Ireland crossing the border to take advantage of the weaker pound. Here, average transaction values also increased 6.4% to £39.76. 

Hobday continued:  “Whilst people may have expected to see tourist hot spots like London get a boost from foreign card spending due to recent currency fluctuations, in fact businesses around the country are feeling the benefits of increased overseas spending power. 

To capitalise on this, it’s vital that businesses all over the country continue to innovate and invest in making their business attractive to modern day customers both at home and abroad.” 

1. YoY growth in volume of non-UK card transactions processed by Worldpay UK for the period 27th May – 23rd June vs. 24th June – 21st July. In store and online retail only.
2. Increase in average value of non-UK card transactions processed by Worldpay UK for the period 27th May – 23rd June 2016 vs 24th June - 21st July 2016. In store and online retail only. 
3. Regional breakdown of YoY growth in non-UK card transactions processed by Worldpay UK for the period 27th May – 23rd June vs. 24th June – 21st July. In store retail only.

For more information please contact:
Suraj Mashru, Golin: T: +44(0)20 7067 0494
Siobhan Acha Derrington, Worldpay:  T: +44 (0)20 3664 4822