Worth an estimated £72 billion, the UK’s online retail market has been the 3rd largest in the world, No. 1 in Europe, and boomed in a large part due to unfettered access to more than 450 million EU consumers. Our departure from the EU brought with it a number of changes and challenges for not only e-commerce businesses, but for B2C sales as a whole.
More than 65% of UK e-tailers were said to have done little to no preparation for the end of the transition period, and the subsequent introduction of customs controls and checks as well as the loss of Distance Selling thresholds afforded by the EU VAT Directive, left many of them wondering if continued selling into the EU was even viable.
Departure from the EU e-Commerce and EU VAT Directives applied a level of regulatory and cost burden never encountered before. VAT issues meant that some sellers had to register for VAT in one or more Member States. Furthermore, despite the mutual assistance VAT protocol negotiated as part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, some Member States continued to insist that UK businesses obtain fiscal representation to register for VAT; this level of bureaucracy and cost threatened the future exports of smaller merchants as they considered withdrawing from the EU, losing years of built-up customer loyalty.
Undoubtedly, the early days post transition were bitterly painful for many e-tailers and EU e-commerce is most definitely a more complex landscape than it was pre 1st January 2021, HOWEVER there is still very strong demand for British goods amongst EU consumers. Furthermore, there are now processes and mechanisms established by which strong sales can resume. But to succeed in this new phase of trading, e-tailers and B2C companies need to increase their knowledge and adapt to overcome these new barriers. They need to understand the essentials of international trade, shipping terms, VAT implications, local regulation changes, and importantly facilitations like the EU Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) that came into force last July.
If you are a B2C company or e-tailer currently selling or planning to sell into the EU, join Andrea Collins from Global Trade Department for this session as she explains everything B2C companies need to be considering now and changes they need to be implementing within their terms and processes to ensure that they can continue to compete and thrive in the EU marketplace.
To find out more or reserve a spot click here.
19/10/2023 12:00 - 13:00
Empowering SMEs in International Trade programme