Insurance · 10 October 2017

Olympic success helps British cycling products lead US exports boom

Jason Kenny's sprint gold medal contributed to the 14 medals won overall by Team GB in the 2016 Rio Olympics
Jason Kenny’s sprint gold medal contributed to the 14 medals won overall by Team GB in the 2016 Rio Olympics

The United States has been the most lucrative trading market for eBay sellers in 2017, according to new data from the auction giant uncovering the five most in-demand British products for American consumers.

eBay’s new UK Retail Report found that 93 per cent of British eBay sellers had traded internationally in 2017, with increasing demand from the USA, France and Germany driving exports for small business owners.

British cycling products topped the list of most popular US exports in the last 12 months, potentially fuelled by the success of the nation’s cycling teams in consecutive Olympic Games and Tour de France contests.

According to previous  data from the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, sales of UK-manufactured bikes rose by 69 per cent in 2014 – putting Britain behind Germany as the second largest bicycle market in Europe.

The latest research indicates that a new wave of domestic manufacturers have found success in the demand for aesthetically “British” cycling products, with new models that reference the steel frames of classic British bikes.

Elsewhere, UK cosmetic brands followed as a rising export powerhouse, as US consumers turn away from traditional European markets for natural and organic produce made in Britain.

The five most popular UK products among American consumers

  1. Cycling
  2. Cosmetics
  3. Fitness, running and yoga
  4. Car parts
  5. Screen projectors

With the American market becoming more vital for small exporters, the study supported evidence that shoppers across the Atlantic have become increasingly keen to “buy British”.

eBay’s previous research found that a quarter of UK sellers had witnessed an uptick in the last year for explicitly British items. The same study suggested positive perceptions around UK goods, services and customer service had attracted a new wave of American shoppers, while even institutions like the BBC and the royal family had helped increase demand.

One small business owner finding great success in the American market was Anni Kriesche, founder of Funky Soap Shop, an ethical, handmade cosmetics brand. Kriesche explained how she leveraged the “handmade in London” aspect across her marketing to great success domestically and internationally.

‘I originally opened the shop as a market stall in Clapton in 2011, but soon realised there was an opportunity to access millions more consumers, so opened an eBay shop,” she said. “Within days I was selling to the USA, and I now list in four languages, selling into seven markets in total.”

“In fact, exports account for 30 per cent of my business, with our biggest overseas markets being France and Germany – as someone who grew up in Germany, I know first-hand how much consumers there admire British design and craftsmanship.”

Commenting on the study’s findings, Rob Hattrell, UK vice president at eBay, said he believed eBay had a “significant role to play” in helping British entrepreneurs find new business opportunities.

“This is evidenced by the findings of our research, and by businesses such as Anni’s Funky Soap Shop, which have used eBay to continue to grow post- Brexit. Our goal for the next year will be continuing to grow our business in a way that helps British entrepreneurs grow theirs, and to make the most of this renewed export opportunity,” he added.

The top 5 export markets for UK eBay sellers in 2017

  1. The United States
  2. France
  3. Italy
  4. Germany
  5. Australia

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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