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Online shoppers rush to buy as pound plunges

Updated: 2016-06-30 02:28
By MENG JING (China Daily)

Online shoppers in China are cashing in on falls in the British pound to buy expensive foreign luxury goods after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

The pound plunged to a three-decade low after Britons voted on Thursday last week to leave the bloc, making the country's goods and services cheaper for overseas buyers.

The pound has dropped by more than 10 percent against the renminbi since the referendum.

Evonne Shen, a white-collar worker in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, bought a handbag for 3,000 yuan ($450) from a British online shopping site on Tuesday, saving more than 300 yuan compared with the price a week ago.

While Shen, who is in her early 20s, may still have to pay tariffs when the package arrives in China, she decided to buy after the pound weakened. "The tariffs have been here for a long time, but how often do you get a chance like this," she said.

After the pound fell, some Chinese online shoppers bought goods on UK e-commerce sites or asked dai gou — overseas shopping agents — to help them with purchases in brick-and-mortar stores and to ship the packages to China.

According to ymatou.com, a cross-border e-commerce site in China, daily sales of European products have doubled since the UK referendum, mostly driven by sales of British products.

The company, based in Shanghai, said on Wednesday: "Shopping malls in Europe are now holding their annual summer sales. Combined with the fall in the pound, it couldn't be a better time to buy British products."

High-end products with prices ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 yuan are among the best-sellers on ymatou.com. About 70 percent of the online buyers bought luxury handbags, including a Hermes Kelly bag costing 98,000 yuan.

According to the Baidu Index, which gauges changes in the popularity of search requests, the number of searches for "UK dai gou" rose by 175 percent between June 17 and June 21, peaking on Friday, when the referendum result was announced.

Mo Daiqing, an analyst at the center, said: "The short-term fall in the pound is attracting more online shoppers to shift their attention from Japanese and Korean products to British ones..

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