In 2022, the United Kingdom’s 100 imported consumer products that generated the most spending totaled US$421 billion. That dollar amount represents 51.6% of the overall value of all UK imported goods ($688.2 billion).
The 5 most valuable consumer products imported into the United Kingdom during 2022 were gas, cars, gold, refined oils and medications.
The total dollar amount for the United Kingdom’s top 100 imported consumer products rose 18.4% gain from 2021 to 2022, paralleling the 18.4% increase for all UK imported goods for the year.
Over the 5-year period, Great Britain increased its total imports spending by 21.3% compared to a 22.3% gain for the 100 most valuable consumer-oriented goods.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by the United Kingdom, 78 increased in total spending from 2021 to 2022 led by coal including solid fuels made from coal and nitrogenous fertilizers. In contrast, 22 consumer goods posted declines led by silver and electric generating sets or converters.
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, car or truck.
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 A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying an outdated model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a stale loaf of bread.
Speciality 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 Most Valuable Imported Convenience Products
The list below showcases the most valuable imported convenience products on which buyers in the United Kingdom spent the most. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level and are presented in descending order.
You can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2021 to 2022 by focusing on the percentages displayed to the right of each product name.
- Petroleum gas: US$60,184,403,000 (up 124.5%)
- Processed petroleum oils: $29,629,061,000 (up 120.7%)
- Medications: $20,166,699,000 (up 34.1%)
- Wine: $5,036,079,000 (up 4.3%)
- Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries: $3,599,593,000 (up 24.8%)
- Other meats (prepared/preserved): $2,939,532,000 (up 37.3%)
- Plastic packing goods, lids, caps: $2,814,681,000 (up 5.1%)
- Miscellaneous plastic items: $2,677,859,000 (down -0.9%)
- Chocolate, other cocoa preparations: $2,654,861,000 (up 11.8%)
- Cheese, curd: $2,238,337,000 (up 11.2%)
- Poultry meat: $1,964,512,000 (up 47.3%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $1,933,054,000 (up 19.8%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $1,917,279,000 (up 192.2%)
- Waters with added sugar: $1,903,125,000 (up 48%)
- Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust: $1,787,911,000 (down -4.3%)
- Other organic cleaning preparations: $1,782,216,000 (up 13.3%)
- Coffee: $1,370,723,000 (up 44.8%)
- Other fresh/chilled vegetables: $1,347,570,000 (down -1.2%)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: $1,311,421,000 (up 125.8%)
- Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs): $1,200,094,000 (up 1.2%)
- Fish fillets, pieces: $1,169,296,000 (up 20.3%)
- Perfumes, toilet waters: $1,167,307,000 (up 14.9%)
- Sauces, condiments, seasoning: $1,158,807,000 (up 10.3%)
- Uncoated paper for writing/printing: $1,123,018,000 (up 62%)
- Prepared vegetables (frozen): $1,122,757,000 (up 76.6%)
- Fruit and vegetable juices: $1,113,355,000 (up 5.8%)
- Fresh or chilled beef: $1,083,605,000 (down -7.6%)
- Miscellaneous fruits (fresh): $1,036,521,000 (down -17.5%)
- Pasta, couscous: $1,024,535,000 (up 17.6%)
- Whole fish (fresh): $941,327,000 (down -5.4%)
- Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared): $929,898,000 (down -2.2%)
- Swine meat: $901,189,000 (down -5.7%)
- Salted, dried or smoked offal, flours: $896,726,000 (up 10.9%)
- Fresh/dried flowers: $884,841,000 (down -7.2%)
- Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners: $884,361,000 (up 28.5%)
- Malt extract, food preparations: $862,594,000 (up 25.4%)
- Corn: $849,596,000 (up 16.8%)
- Miscellaneous live plants: $834,109,000 (up 42.7%)
Convenience products led by petroleum gas, processed petroleum oils, medications and wine is Britain’s second-most popular import product type attracting the most UK spending after shopping products.
Non-durable consumer products 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.
UK’s Most Valuable Imported Shopping Products
Below, the list highlights the most valuable imported shopping products on which buyers in the United Kingdom spent the greatest amounts. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level and are presented from highest to lowest total amounts.
The percentages displayed to the right of each product name reveal the highest increases or decreases in UK spending on that specific type of shopping product from 2021 to 2022.
- Cars: US$44,560,941,000 (up 30.7%)
- Phone devices including smartphones: $16,640,118,000 (down -5.2%)
- Computers, optical readers: $13,699,204,000 (down -15.9%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $11,505,099,000 (down -5.1%)
- Trucks: $9,491,194,000 (up 6.1%)
- Miscellaneous furniture: $6,352,386,000 (up 4.5%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $5,019,175,000 (up 2.4%)
- Seats (not barber/dentist chairs): $4,367,125,000 (up 2.4%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $3,618,455,000 (up 46%)
- Women’s clothing (not knit/crochet): $3,266,591,000 (up 17.8%)
- Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet): $3,233,418,000 (up 12.1%)
- Miscellaneous toys: $3,180,075,000 (up 9%)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: $3,021,685,000 (up 23.2%)
- Rubber tires (new): $3,013,332,000 (up 1.2%)
- Orthopedic appliances: $2,985,671,000 (up 17.1%)
- Tractors: $2,845,480,000 (up 42.2%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $2,843,730,000 (down -7.5%)
- T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet): $2,598,964,000 (up 14.9%)
- Footwear (leather): $2,495,656,000 (up 18.7%)
- Printing machinery: $2,479,736,000 (up 8.8%)
- Video console games, table games: $2,423,392,000 (down -6.4%)
- Footwear (textile): $2,130,698,000 (up 32.2%)
- Women’s clothing (knit or crochet): $2,101,125,000 (up 8%)
- Men’s suits (unknit/non-crochet): $1,948,260,000 (up 28.8%)
- Miscellaneous iron or steel items: $1,670,567,000 (up 1.6%)
- Sports equipment: $1,666,034,000 (down -16.8%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $1,595,149,000 (up 0.6%)
- Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins: $1,548,804,000 (up 7.3%)
- Trailers: $1,468,876,000 (up 26.5%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $1,439,961,000 (up 6.5%)
- Paper containers, cellulose wadding: $1,388,506,000 (up 24.5%)
- Footwear (rubber or plastic): $1,349,211,000 (up 25.3%)
- Unrecorded sound media: $1,332,672,000 (up 3.9%)
- Wrist/pocket watches (regular case): $1,273,660,000 (up 12.7%)
- Motorcycles: $1,151,198,000 (up 53%)
- Linens: $1,104,805,000 (down -1.8%)
- Printed books, brochures: $1,072,988,000 (up 5.2%)
- Women’s coats (unknit/non-crochet): $950,339,000 (up 8.9%)
- Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items: $911,860,000 (up 22.9%)
- Vulcanized rubber items: $876,499,000 (up 4.5%)
- Packaged insecticides, herbicides: $872,632,000 (up 37.4%)
- Hair preparations: $849,779,000 (up 16%)
- Men’s coats (unknit/non-crochet): $843,270,000 (up 13.7%)
The UK’s most popular imported product type is shopping products (SD) led by cars, mobile phones, computers, automotive parts or accessories, and trucks.
Shopping products exceed two-fifths (43) of the United Kingdom’s top 100 imported consumer goods.
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. Note that shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.
UK’s Most Valuable Imported Speciality Products
Speciality products represent the category with the fewest entries among Britain’s imports that attracted the UK’s greatest spending on imported consumer goods during 2022.
Selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level, the most valuable speciality items are listed in descending order below.
The percentage to the right of each product name reveal highest increases or decreases in 2022 compared to 2021.
- Gold (unwrought): US$41,761,925,000 (down -22.3%)
- Electric storage batteries: $3,277,283,000 (up 37.9%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $3,046,901,000 (up 0.3%)
- Jewelry: $2,719,713,000 (up 0.3%)
- Liquid pumps: $2,413,174,000 (up 21.8%)
- Beauty/makeup/skin care: $2,362,385,000 (up 13.5%)
- Silver (unwrought): $2,224,368,000 (down -64%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $2,222,163,000 (down -4.2%)
- Nitrogenous fertilizers: $1,999,127,000 (up 144.8%)
- Household base metal mountings: $1,640,614,000 (down -7.1%)
- Diamonds (unmounted/unset): $1,629,325,000 (up 3.7%)
- Hand-drawn paintings, drawings: $1,610,333,000 (up 42.2%)
- Electric motors, not generating sets: $1,597,003,000 (up 29.9%)
- Temperature-change machines: $1,422,973,000 (up 29.8%)
- Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines: $1,306,299,000 (up 5.3%)
- Air conditioners: $1,204,495,000 (up 1.4%)
- Compasses, other navigational aids: $1,145,755,000 (up 65.9%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $934,088,000 (down -59.2%)
- Washing machines: $834,104,000 (down -5.7%)
Like shopping products, speciality products are considered as durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the sections above, 62 of the UK’s 100 highest-value consumer shopper plus speciality products are durable while the remaining 38 convenience products are classified as non-durable.
Overall Fastest-Growing UK Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into the United Kingdom that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2021 to 2022.
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: Up 192.2% (US$1.9 billion)
- Nitrogenous fertilizers: Up 144.8% ($2 billion)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: Up 125.8% ($1.3 billion)
- Petroleum gas: Up 124.5% ($60.2 billion)
- Processed petroleum oils: Up 120.7% ($29.6 billion)
- Prepared vegetables (frozen): Up 76.6% ($1.12 billion)
- Compasses, other navigational aids: Up 65.9% ($1.15 billion)
- Uncoated paper for writing/printing: Up 62% ($1.12 billion)
- Motorcycles: Up 53% ($1.15 billion)
- Waters with added sugar: Up 48% ($1.9 billion)
Among the above top gainers, 3 items are durable goods that consumers can re-use over time. Drilling down, one of the durable items is a shopping product namely motorcycles. That product usually requires a comparatively longer time to make a buying decision.
Additionally 2 top gainers among the durable goods are periodically purchased speciality items namely nitrogenous fertilizers and navigational aids including compasses.
The 7 remaining fast growers are convenience products ranging from coal including solid fuels made from coal and waters with added sugar. Consumers typically consider these items as non-durable products commonly referred to as disposable goods and therefore are used only once.
Overall Worst-Declining UK Consumer Imports
The United Kingdom’s spending on the following 10 items decreased at the greatest pace from 2021 to 2022.
- Silver (unwrought): Down -64% (US$2.2 billion)
- Electric generating sets, converters: Down -59.2% ($934.1 million)
- Gold (unwrought): Down -22.3% ($41.8 billion)
- Miscellaneous fresh fruits: Down -17.5% ($1.04 billion)
- Sports equipment: Down -16.8% ($1.7 billion)
- Computers, optical readers: Down -15.9% ($13.7 billion)
- Fresh or chilled beef: Down -7.6% ($1.08 billion)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: Down -7.5% ($2.8 billion)
- Fresh/dried flowers: Down -7.2% ($884.8 million)
- Household base metal mountings: Down -7.1% ($1.64 billion)
Three among the UK’s top 10 declining imports are non-durable convenience products consumed one time only, namely miscellaneous fresh fruits, fresh or chilled beef, and fresh or dried flowers.
Silver, electric generating sets or converters, gold and household base metal mountings are speciality products made the list of severest losers.
The 3 remaining import decliners are shopping products that normally require more time for shoppers to make buying decisions. These are British imports of sports equipment, computers including optical readers, and lower-voltage switches or fuses. 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 petroleum gas. The UK’s 4 other leading consumer imports are cars, gold, refined petroleum oils, and medication mixes not in dosage.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for the United Kingdom’s major imports.
Petroleum gas: Norway (51.3% of total), United States of America (23%), Qatar (13.9%), Peru (5.2%), Angola (1.6%), Algeria (1.1%), Nigeria (also 1.1%), Russia (1%), Trinidad & Tobago (0.5%), and Egypt (0.4%).
Cars: Germany (28.7% of total), mainland China (9.9%), Spain (8.3%), Slovakia (6%), Czech Republic (5.9%), South Korea (5.5%), France (4.6%), Japan (4.5%), Hungary (3.4%), and Romania (3.1%).
Gold: Canada (25% of total), United States of America (16.6%), Kazakhstan (15.4%), Philippines (7.7%), Switzerland (6.9%), Russia (5.9%), France (4.6%), Mexico (3.5%), Spain (3.3%), and Brazil (1.8%).
Refined oils: Netherlands (14.3% of total), Belgium (9.8%), United Arab Emirates (9.4%), Saudi Arabia (9.1%), Kuwait (8.1%), India (8%), Russia (6.2%), United States of America (6%), Sweden (5.6%), and mainland China (4%).
Medications: United States of America (26.9% of total), Germany (22%), Ireland (6.6%), Italy (6.5%), France (5.4%), Switzerland (4.2%), India (3.2%), Netherlands (3.2%), Spain (3%), and Belgium (2.2%).
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.
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.