Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why the UK has become Amazon’s fastest growing market – and how can brands benefit?

By Izabela Catiru, Team Lead, Digital Marketing Strategy at ChannelAdvisor

Recent results from Amazon found that the UK is the ecommerce marketplaces’ fastest growing market, reaching 51.1 per cent year on year growth in 2020 – significantly higher than Amazon’s other leading markets of the US (36%), Germany (33%) and Japan (28%).

These figures are mirrored in today’s consumer behaviour. ChannelAdvisor’s research from September 2020 found that 45% of UK online shoppers were spending more time on Amazon compared to before the COVID crisis began, while 85% had researched at least one product on the platform since March 2020.

Which factors have collided to make the UK such a ripe market for Amazon? Does this apply for other online marketplaces? And can brands benefit from an environment where these selling platforms thrive? 

Brexit Continues To Impact

The complex import issues caused by Brexit have had a ripple effect through e-commerce. Delays at customs have resulted in mass supply chain and delivery complications on both sides of the UK border. Many EU-based brands temporarily halted delivery traffic into the UK through major marketplaces such as Amazon in order to avoid suspension due to fulfillment issues. Likewise, some UK-based brands selling into Europe made the decision to temporarily pause their cross-border shipping.

In the face of this uncertainty, both UK-based brands and consumers have turned to Amazon UK and other local marketplaces, due to the reduced complexity around taxes and delivery delays. Although we have seen the emergence of homegrown marketplaces such as OnBuy, the UK still lacks the strong mix of local marketplaces found in EU countries.

Without many other options to turn to, Amazon UK has seen a tremendous amount of growth over the last year, solidifying itself as the go-to site for UK online shoppers for both research and purchase. The platform’s strict requirements and wide range of both brands and products make it a convenient and reliable choice for consumers. 

With some EU-based brands still on the backfoot when it comes to targeting UK consumers, now is the time for UK based brands to up their marketing efforts on the site.. 

Must-have strategies to succeed on Amazon UK 

The key to succeeding on Amazon is getting the basics right. Shoppers on the platform move quickly between products so brands need to offer and display as much essential information as possible in a short amount of time. 

Titles and descriptions need to be illustrative, contain keywords and brand names, while staying below 200 words in length. Detailed descriptions with three to five bullet points help to highlight the product’s top features in a clear, accessible way. 

It’s essential to include at least three high quality images which allow for zoom, as shoppers will be keen to check out and compare your product to a competitor’s. All of this comes down to considering the customer journey, figuring out what data is most useful to them and regularly testing and updating to match what consumers are searching for.  

Visibility is key to gaining more sales on Amazon and this can be obtained by having optimised product content and effective advertising campaigns. Next to the advertising options, brands have other marketing features that they need to invest time and effort in A+content and Amazon Stores. These features allow for better control over how your brand is represented and can massively improve discoverability, allowing shoppers to easily view your entire product range as well as creative content such as brand video and lifestyle imagery. 

No time like the present

Looking at marketplace GMV data from last year, the majority of sales volume on the website comes from sellers that have been on it for years. Across the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, more than half of the 2020 sales volume is from sellers that joined in 2017 or earlier. However, this doesn’t mean new sellers have missed the boat by any stretch. 

New sellers bring incremental growth and the marketplace is far from saturated. It does further add to the current opportunity to start selling on the site as early as possible, especially during the temporary dip from European competition. That way brands can experiment to find the best strategies and a few years down the line will solidify themselves as the go-to brands on the platform. 

The next few months presents an exciting opportunity for UK brands to join the rapidly growing Amazon UK platform. To ensure success during this window and into the future, brands must approach the platform with an experimental mindset, with optimised product data and an adaptable marketing strategy.