There have been two main subjects dominating our minds and the media over the last few months – Brexit and Football. With the former having a significant impact on the economy, consumer behaviour, exchange rates and our PPC accounts, here we analyse the impact of our decision to leave the EU on the FX sector, more specifically travel money.
With search engines being a major source of information for all things Brexit, including manic ‘what is the EU’ searches after the referendum results were announced, it is without surprise that we have seen the foreign exchange search landscape significantly altered in the build-up, during and after the referendum.
With economic uncertainty looming, alongside fear of the decision to leave the EU devaluing the pound and negatively impacting exchange rates, pre-referendum foreign currency purchasing was strong. Sessions steadily rose, with a much steeper incline in transactions led by a strong conversion rate across the sector. Transactions peaked on the day before the polling took place with the pound value against the Euro and US Dollars being high. To mitigate risk on the day of the referendum the market saw a slight downturn as many travel money providers reduced their rates to buffer any lost income due to volatile exchange rates.
Referendum Results Day
As the results of the UK’s decision to leave the EU became apparent on the morning of the 24th June, this saw search volume increase significantly, particularly on ‘euros’ and ‘rates’ terms. Searches for live rates, comparisons and rate trackers dominated the search landscape in the FX market. However, conversion rate was largely reduced, due to this large influx of research terms.
As the pound weakened and exchange rates worsened, conversion rate was very negatively impacted across the sector. At this point many major foreign exchange companies’ rates worsened to below market level to protect their margins, leading to a drop in the rate of foreign exchange at this time.
The pound continued to weaken during political uncertainty, with holidaymakers having to make decisions as to when the optimum time to exchange their travel money was. However, the need to buy caused the market to slowly pick back up. As Theresa May made her way into 10 Downing Street the pound strengthened and conversion rate picked back up.
The effects of the UK’s decision to leave the EU have been felt internationally, with global economic uncertainty impacted by our significant contribution to world imports and exports. Worldwide searches for ‘exchange rates’, ‘buy pounds’ and ‘travel money’ all peaked on the week of the referendum.
The most significant impact was felt in the US. Impressions rose on terms related to the pound and the exchange rates associated with GBP. CTR rose in general, although a reduction in conversion rate was seen due to the large increase in research terms, similarly to the UK. However, due to the weakened pound Americans were able to withdraw a significantly larger amount in exchange for their dollars. This fall in conversion rate could be offset by order values being larger to make the most of this factor.
Overall, Brexit has had a major impact on the FX sector both in the UK and across the globe, with the impacts continuing to be seen. With the strength of the pound continuing to fluctuate and uncertainty over exactly how the decision to leave the EU will impact our economy it is necessary to monitor the market and be as responsive to changes as possible to mitigate any risks and make the most of opportunities, particularly in foreign markets.