Made in Britain: A Premium Export Opportunity

Traditional red phone booth and Big Ben in London
12th September 2016

Britain has an enviable reputation for quality manufacturing, making British branded goods highly desirable in e-commerce markets across much of the world. Not only is there demand for our British brands in international markets, but the Made in Britain label in fact attracts a premium price tag in many emerging markets.

Exports are a powerful driver of economic growth and the UK is leading the way in the world of online retail export, so we teamed up with our trusted partner, Translate Media, to explore where the opportunities lie for retailers and brands who boast a product portfolio steaming with British heritage.

A Global Reputation for Quality

Products ‘Made in Britain’ carry with them an enviable reputation for being high in quality, making them particularly desirable in international markets. As a nation we boast a proven track record in technology and manufacturing, thereby creating an ever-increasing demand from overseas consumers for British-branded goods.
The UK is considered to be particularly well placed in certain sectors such as luxury goods, food, FMCGs, fashion and leisure. This reputation for quality combined with an international viewpoint that British firms are honest, trustworthy and operate within a proven, stable legal framework presents a massive opportunity for UK retailers who are proud to sell British-branded goods, one that is being missed by many who haven’t localised their websites for international customers. British retailers, should be capitalising on this unique opportunity to market their goods to international customers and grow their cross-border sales.

A Premium Price Tag in Emerging Markets

Whilst the ‘Made in Britain’ label boasts a quality reputation worldwide thereby presenting a vast opportunity in many e-commerce markets, research shows that the demand for British goods is notably high in emerging markets when compared to more established markets across Europe and the US.
Key markets where British brands do exceptionally well include; Brazil, India, China, Russia and Mexico. In these markets, buying British goods denotes a sense of class and sophistication. Whilst historically those purchasing exclusively British brands tended to be the affluent consumers in these markets, today the working and middle class are increasingly looking to buy British and the growth of cross-border e-commerce only serves to fuel this demand further.
Both India and Brazil are considered to be viable targets for British retailers owing to their pre-existing awareness of UK brands and their openness to trade. Our recent blog on the e-commerce market in Brazil noted that following the Olympics and other major sporting events hosted there over the last few years there has been increased investment in the country’s infrastructure, which has and will continue to see expedited growth in this e-commerce market. Similarly, in India, internet penetration rates are sky-rocketing, adding 3 internet users per second. This, coupled with a history steeped in British colonialism and the largest English speaking population in the world, makes India a great choice for retailers looking to grow their cross-border sales.
Research carried out by Barclays also found that the value attached to the ‘Made in Britain’ label is far greater in emerging markets than in established markets, giving such goods a premium price tag in these markets. The study showed that the average premium respondents were willing to pay for British goods in the Middle East was 7.2%, 6.5% in China and 3.1% in Brazil compared to just 0.4% in France and 0.5% in Germany. In China, Brazil and Qatar, 60-70% respondents indicated that seeing a Union flag on a product would make them more inclined to buy it.
What’s more, these emerging markets are growing at a much faster rate and are far less saturated than other established markets, meaning that the return on your investment in these markets can be far greater than that in your domestic market. Businesses could also see exports grow at a much faster rate if they rebalance their markets away from Europe and towards new and emerging economies where growth and price premiums on British goods are higher.

"Businesses could see exports grow at a much faster rate if they rebalance their markets away from Europe and towards new and emerging economies where growth and price premiums on British goods are higher."

Barriers to Entry

It is clear that the opportunities for growth for British retailers are in international markets, so why aren’t more UK businesses expanding into foreign markets?
Whilst the opportunity cannot be denied and brands are keen to open up their sales channels to new markets, the level of perceived risk, a lack of know-how as to how to best approach these markets and the perceived level of resource required to expand pose great barriers to businesses otherwise keen to take advantage of the opportunity.
For any British brand, localisation of your offering to meet the needs of your target market is paramount to the success of your market entry. This localisation might mean adjusting the brand story to make it clear that the brand has British heritage or to localise your website to local consumers so that they can find out more about it in their own language without going to the UK or English version of your site.
Other localisation obstacles that can often deter brands from international expansion include having the ability to provide local payment methods and implementing a cost-effective delivery strategy to reach your end customer and manage international returns. However, neither are insurmountable and with the right partners and solutions in place, expansion needn’t be daunting.
None of these barriers to entry are insurmountable and with the right partners and solutions in place, expansion needn’t be daunting.

Explore how you could test new emerging markets through online marketplaces, or for step-by-step guidance on how to localise your website and gain new customers in new markets speak to the KnowGlobal team.

With special thanks to our Accredited Partner;

TranslateMedia is a global translation and transcreation agency specialising in fashion, retail, apparel and luxury goods. Our reputation and track record is based on our high quality translations for retail and ecommerce clients. Half of our work comes from working directly from brands and retail clients. The other half is from working indirectly, through creative, marketing and digital agencies. What makes TranslateMedia a leader in the industry is our ability to pass on our substantial experience and skills in localization and offer critical insights and potential improvements into our clients’ tone of voice and workflow processes. We offer our clients the language support they require to successfully expand their operations globally.