United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products

In 2020, the United Kingdom’s 100 imported consumer products that generated the most spending totaled US$352.9 billion. That dollar amount represents 55.8% of the overall value of all UK imported goods ($631.9 billion).

The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into the United Kingdom during 2020 were gold, cars, phones, computers and medications.

The total dollar amount for the United Kingdom’s top 100 imported consumer products declined by -3.5% from 2019 to 2020, compared to a -8.8% drop for all UK imported goods for the year.

Great Britain’s overall purchases of imported products decelerated at a faster pace than the global average decline of -8.2% from 2019 to 2020 for all importing countries.

Among the top 100 consumer products imported by the United Kingdom, 30 increased in total sales from 2019 to 2020 whereas 70 declined.

Changes in UK consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.

Consumer Products Defined

Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.

Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.

Types of Consumer Products

This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.

Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.

Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.

Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.

UK’s Consumer Imports Smart List

The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases the United Kingdom’s 100 highest-value imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.

The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.

#Imported ProductUS$YOY 
1Gold (unwrought)$88,381,738,000+24.9%SY
4Computers, optical readers$16,121,553,000+9.4%SP
6Automobile parts/accessories$11,498,062,000-27.4%SP
7Processed petroleum oils$9,886,689,000-50.1%CP
9Miscellaneous textile items$5,248,718,000+884.1%SP
10Miscellaneous furniture$4,440,862,000-11.1%SP
11Wine $4,401,852,000-0.5%CP
12Miscellaneous plastic items$3,760,071,000+40.0%CP
13Insulated wire/cable$3,698,041,000-13.8%SP
14Felt or other non-woven garments$3,331,174,000+771.1%SP
15Medications not in dosage$3,275,194,000-19.4%CP
16Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)$3,077,574,000-18.7%SP
17Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2,889,349,000-0.1%CP
18Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)$2,777,996,000-29.3%SP
19Silver (unwrought)$2,753,753,000+33.9%SY
20Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$2,699,636,000-1.1%SP
22Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$2,654,597,000-16.7%SP
23Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$2,442,442,000-4.2%CP
24Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$2,436,500,000-1.5%CP
25Footwear (leather)$2,424,067,000-18.8%SP
26Electric water heaters, hair dryers$2,362,748,000-0.5%SY
27Cases, handbags, wallets$2,350,663,000-27.0%SP
28Rubber tires (new)$2,311,400,000-16.2%SP
29Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2,297,632,000-20.2%SP
30Printing machinery$2,264,340,000-19.3%SP
31T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$2,259,695,000-16.0%SP
32Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$2,243,433,000+7.8%CP
33Cheese, curd$2,175,287,000-1.3%CP
34Electrical converters/power units$2,137,514,000-7.9%SP
35Orthopedic appliances$2,124,508,000-17.4%SP
36Video console games, table games$2,112,782,000+41.6%SP
37Other food preparations$2,012,732,000+5.3%CP
38Beauty/makeup/skin care$2,011,545,000-15.6%SY
39Footwear (textile)$1,978,169,000-10.6%SP
40Computer parts, accessories$1,977,175,000-11.0%SP
41Liquid pumps$1,969,165,000-17.8%SY
43Refrigerators, freezers$1,828,392,000+1.4%SY
44Electric storage batteries$1,826,220,000-5.1%SY
45Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust$1,788,319,000+2.6%CP
46Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1,629,102,000-22.4%SP
47Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$1,607,909,000-11.8%SP
48Other organic cleaning preparations$1,541,999,000+11.8%CP
49Unrecorded sound media$1,488,771,000-20.5%SP
50Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)$1,484,251,000-29.4%SP
51Sports equipment$1,408,987,000+5.6%SP
52Hand-drawn paintings, drawings$1,363,672,000-33.9%SY
54Printed books, brochures$1,331,231,000-11.4%SP
55Other fresh/chilled vegetables$1,313,129,000+4.4%CP
56Waters with added sugar$1,257,061,000+6.4%CP
57Furniture base metal mountings$1,255,115,000-14.6%SP
58Poultry meat$1,247,582,000-19.5%CP
59Vulcanized rubber apparel/accessory$1,186,289,000+237.6%SP
60Fish fillets, pieces$1,137,761,000-6.8%CP
61Swine meat$1,132,469,000-6.8%CP
62Packaged insecticides, herbicides$1,099,080,000+5.6%SP
63Fruit and vegetable juices$1,069,366,000+2.9%CP
64Footwear (rubber or plastic)$1,059,806,000-18.1%SP
65 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $1,048,847,000-10.4%SY
66Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins$1,046,507,000-23.5%SP
67Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$1,039,318,000+4.0%CP
68Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1,030,261,000+1.4%CP
69Perfumes, toilet waters$1,008,819,000-13.2%CP
71Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning$985,161,000+2.7%CP
72Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$967,466,000-3.7%CP
73Fresh or chilled beef$951,291,000-3.3%CP
75Paper containers, cellulose wadding$931,487,000-9.7%SP
76Spectacles, goggles$911,215,000+108.1%SY
77Grapes (fresh or dried)$892,113,000+0.6%CP
78Fresh or dried citrus fruit$886,619,000+12.4%CP
79Temperature-change machines$875,684,000-21.5%SY
80Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$843,792,000-5.4%SP
81Air conditioners$818,647,000-17.8%SY
82Uncoated paper for writing/printing$803,449,000-24.9%CP
83Electric generating sets, converters$792,452,000+0.4%SY
84Washing machines$788,352,000+6.4%SY
85Salted/dried/smoked meat, offal$787,363,000-7.7%SP
86Fresh/dried flowers$785,776,000-7.0%CP
87Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$784,449,000+92.2%CP
89Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)$773,824,000-20.3%SP
90Soap, organic surface-active goods$772,174,000+47.3%SP
92Wrist/pocket watches (regular case)$766,629,000-23.2%SP
93Pasta, couscous$751,354,000+14.1%CP
94Vulcanized rubber items$737,124,000-12.7%SP
95Bananas, plantains$723,547,000-2.9%CP
97Vacuum cleaners$714,273,000+12.3%SY
98Hair preparations$713,707,000-4.5%SP
99Prepared vegetables (frozen)$712,496,000-18.6%CP
100Men's coats (unknit/non-crochet)$700,862,000-18.3%SP

The UK’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP) led by cars, phones, computers and automotive parts or accessories. Shopping products represent roughly half (49) of the United Kingdom’s top 100 imported consumer goods.

In second place via 35 entries are convenience products (CP) led by medications, processed petroleum oils and miscellaneous items made from plastics.

Speciality products (SY) placed 16 entries. Examples of speciality products are UK imports of gold, silver and jewelry. 

Durable consumer products are goods like cars, refrigerators and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that all shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.

Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Alcoholic beverages and bananas are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.

Based on the product types identified in the above table, 65 of UK’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while the 35 convenience products are classified as non-durable.

You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.

Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports

Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into the United Kingdom that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.

  1. Miscellaneous textile items: Up 884.1% ($5.2 billion)
  2. Garments made from felt or non-woven special fabric: Up 771.1% ($3.3 billion)
  3. Vulcanized rubber clothing and accessories: Up 237.6% ($1.2 billion) 
  4. Spectacles, goggles: Up 108.1% ($911.2 million)
  5. Tissues, napkins, toilet paper: Up 92.2% ($784.4 million)
  6. Soap, organic surface-active goods: Up 47.3% ($772.2 million)
  7. Video console games, table games: Up 41.6% ($2.1 billion)
  8. Miscellaneous plastic items: Up 40% ($3.8 billion)
  9. Silver (unwrought): Up 33.9% ($2.8 billion)
  10. Gold (unwrought): Up 24.9% ($88.4 billion)

Among the above top gainers, 8 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Drilling down, 5 of the durable items are shopping products that require a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision, while 3 top gainers are periodically purchased speciality items namely spectacles and goggles, silver and gold.

The fastest-growing convenience products are tissues, napkins and toilet paper as well as miscellaneous plastic items. Consumers typically consider these items as non-durable products commonly referred to as disposable goods and therefore are used only once.

Worst-Declining Consumer Imports

The United Kingdom’s spending on the following 10 items decreased at the greatest pace from 2019 to 2020.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: Down -50.1% ($9.9 billion)
  2. Jewelry: Down -42.4% ($2.7 billion)
  3. Hand-drawn paintings and drawings: Down -33.9% ($1.4 billion)
  4. Trucks: Down -33.3% ($5.9 billion)
  5. Unknit/non-crocheted men’s suits, trousers: Down -29.4% ($1.5 billion)
  6. Unknit/non-crocheted women’s clothing: Down -29.3% ($2.8 billion)
  7. Automobile parts or accessories: Down -27.4% ($11.5 billion)
  8. Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -27% ($2.4 billion)
  9. Uncoated paper for writing/printing: Down -24.9% ($803.4 million)
  10. Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins: Down -23.5% ($1 billion)

Two among the UK’s top 10 declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time only, namely processed petroleum oils and uncoated paper for writing or printing. Jewelry and hand-drawn paintings or drawings are speciality products made the list of leading losers.

The remaining 6 import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions. Purchases under the shopping products category are more likely to be deferred than convenience products.

Key Suppliers by Country

This analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target the United Kingdom’s demand for its top 5 consumer import products.

The UK’s biggest imported consumer product by value is gold. The UK’s 4 other leading consumer imports are cars, phones, computers, and medications.

Below, you will find major supplying countries for the United Kingdom’s imported:

Gold: Russia (19.3% of total), Hong Kong (14.2%), United States (13.6%), Canada (12.8%), Australia (9.2%), Switzerland (8.6%), Uzbekistan (6.7%), South Africa (3.8%), Japan (2%), and Turkey (1.7%).

Cars: Germany (39.6% of total), Belgium (19.1%), Spain (9.3%), Japan (5.3%), Slovakia (4%), South Korea (3.8%), Netherlands (3.2%), France (2.4%), Turkey (2.4%), and Austria (2.1%).

Phones: China (48.1% of total), Netherlands (18.1%), Vietnam (8.4%), Taiwan (4.1%), Germany (2.8%), United States (also 2.8%), South Korea (2.1%), Mexico (1.4%), Ireland (also 1.4%), and France (1.1%).

Computers: China (49.9% of total), Netherlands (14.6%), Germany (6.2%), Poland (4.9%), United States (4.3%), Czech Republic (4.2%), Ireland (3.1%), Taiwan (2.2%), Hungary (1.8%), and Vietnam (1.2%).

Medications: Germany (16% of total), Netherlands (12.7%), United States (10.6%), Italy (9.7%), Ireland (9.5%), Belgium (8.6%), France (also 8.6%), Spain (3.8%), India (3.7%), and Denmark (3%).

See also

More great research: United Kingdom’s Main Imports by Top Supplier Countries, 100 Most Valuable Consumer Imports for Sale to Ireland, US Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, China’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products


Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.

BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.

Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: United Kingdom Economy.

International Trade Centre, Trade Map.

Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.

Trading Economics, United Kingdom Consumer Spending.

Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.

World’s Top Exports, United Kingdom’s Top 10 Imports.

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