IPC: 39% of European consumers were affected by EU’s new VAT and customs regulations

IPC: 39% of European consumers were affected by EU’s new VAT and customs regulations

 The 2021 edition of the IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey has been released, giving an overview of online cross-border consumers’ expectations and habits.

The survey was conducted with 33,000 participants in 40 countries worldwide, accounting for 93% of the world e-commerce market. Alongside looking at the impact of new legislation, the survey monitored current and future e-commerce trends and sustainability preferences.

Highlights of the Survey

• 25% of consumers were affected by Brexit. 39% of European consumers were affected by EU’s new VAT and customs regulations
• The proportion of consumers shopping online (both domestically and cross-border) at least once a week remains at 22%
• China and the UK’s share in the e-commerce market decreased by 3% in 2021.
• Twenty-six percent of the most recent cross-border purchases were made on Amazon, with AliExpress (19%) in second place, eBay (10%) in third place and Wish (7%) being the fourth most commonly used e-retailer for cross-border e-commerce.

The survey analysed how consumers were affected by both the UK leaving the European Union and the introduction of customs fees and removal of VAT exemption for low-value items coming into the EU. Thirty-nine percent of respondents stated the new VAT rules have impacted their cross-border purchases, with over half stating that the value of items purchased has increased and/or that they have now pay additional custom fees compared to previous years.

Overall, the introduction of the new laws has seen a significant increase in the number of people who have had to pay e-commerce related fees, with 21% having paid import fees for purchases this year compared to 13% in 2020.

Since the increase in customs and import fees, the report has shown that China has dropped three or more percentage points from 17 of the 40 countries surveyed as the most recent country of purchase and within Europe, the UK dropped as the country of most recent purchase in five countries.

The survey revealed that consumers have continued to shop regularly online, with 22% of consumers shopping online at least once a week. The number has remained the same after a spike in the
number of people turning to online shopping rose due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Overall, 79% of consumers tended to shop online once a month, continuing the trend of e-commerce
becoming the preferred way to shop. However, although more are choosing to shop online, it has been predicted that many will choose to shop online from domestic e-retailers rather than crossborder e-retailers in the future, with 27% of respondents stating they will buy much more domestically.

IPC’s CEO, Holger Winklbauer said: “The IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey continues to provide invaluable insights for the postal industry and remains the one of the largest of its kind. This edition has shown for the first time the impact of both Brexit and EU tax changes on consumer shopping habits. E-commerce has long cemented itself as the backbone of the postal industry, therefore it is vital the posts are able to understand and adapt to the ever-growing needs and concerns of its customers.”

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