Complaints by UK consumers about clothing and footwear bought from overseas traders rose by 22% in the first three months of 2022 compared to the last three months of 2021.

Most of these 166 cases (from January 2022 to end March 2022) are online purchases, with problems ranging from defective goods to non-delivery or difficulties over cancellation rights.

Andy Allen, Service Director at the UKICC, said: “An astonishing 87% - that’s 144 of these clothing and footwear complaints concerned online shopping. This level of online shopping is undoubtably driven by the reduction in travel in the past year or so and reflects a change in shopping trends driven by COVID-19.

“According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) The number of UK residents' visits abroad increased between April 2021 and April 2022 but were still at two-thirds of the pre-coronavirus numbers. By April 2022 UK residents’ visits overseas had not yet reached the level seen in April 2019, effectively showing a 33% decrease, so there’s a long way to go yet.

“So, whether the shift away from buying on premises to buying online becomes permanent – as overseas travel slowly resumes as pandemic restrictions ease – remains to be seen.”