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European Consumers’ Online Habits May Boost U.S. Brands

One of the unintended consequences of Brexit may be a change in online spending habits among French and German consumers. If sustained, that may mean higher sales and profits for U.S. e-commerce brands, and an increase in the shares of companies in the Indxx U.S. E-Commerce Index, all at the expense of U.K. brands. The index is up nearly 30% vs. a 16% increase in the S&P 500 since the beginning of 4Q 2020.



A study by Pitney Bowes conducted in mid-December reported that a quarter of French and German consumers plan to reduce their purchases of U.K. brands. The reasons include potential price changes because of new trade rules. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, effective since Jan. 1, brought with it changes in customers’ documentation and how value-added tax is collected.


U.S. brands may have a chance to capture even more market share.

U.S. e-commerce brands are already strong in the region, with 80% of French and 71% of German consumers surveyed saying they have made cross-border purchases of U.S.-based products since the beginning of 2020. About a third of the online spending by all three groups is on U.S. products.


U.S. brands may have a chance to capture even more market share. Germany is the biggest market outside the U.S. for Amazon.com. The EMEA region is also the second-largest geography for Netflix, accounting for more than 30% of revenue in 2020.

British commerce with the EU has been under pressure for years. In 2019, 43% of U.K. exports went to the trade bloc, down from nearly 60% in 2006.

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