5 Things You Need to Know About Cross-Border Shoppers

Pitney Bowes released its 2015 Global Online Shopping Study to gain a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions about cross-border ecommerce shopping.

The survey was conducted online by ORC International in August, and polled approximately 1,000 respondents across 12 countries.

Here are the five things you need to know about the 2015 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study whether you’re looking to launch or fine-tune your cross-border strategy.

Australia is the Cross-Border Hotbed

crocodile dundeeAustralians continue to be the highest among those who have purchased products online from other countries (63% in both 2015 and 2014), followed by Canada (48% in 2015 versus 54% in 2014) and Russia (49% in 2015 versus 54% in 2014).

The knowledge gap is starting to close, with consumers believing they can only purchase goods online from retailers in their own country (6% in the 2015 study versus 8% in the 2014 study).

This was most prevalent with consumers in India (8% in 2015 versus 15% in 2014) South Korea (15% in 2015 versus 21% in 2014) and China (15% in 2015 versus 19% in 2014).

USA is Number 1… But Not for All

usaThe United States (71% in 2015 versus 70% in 2014), U.K. (44% versus 45%) and Germany (39% versus 38%) continue to be the most desirable e-destinations for consumers to purchase goods online outside their own country.

But the love for the U.S. may be padded by Canadian shoppers. The 2015 study found that more online shoppers in Canada listed the U.S. as their top location for where they want to buy products from (91% in versus 89% in 2014).

And U.S.-based merchants selling cross-border into China may want to re-think their strategy. Fifty-one percent of online shoppers in China surveyed selected Japan, up from 39% in the 2014 study. There was also an increase with Chinese consumers selecting Australia (26% versus 19% in 2014).

The U.K. is still a top consideration for those in Australia (74% in the 2014 study versus 75% in 2014) and Germany (73% versus 74% in 2014). Also, more online shoppers in Brazil chose the U.K. in the 2015 study (23% up from 16% in 2014).

The Shipping Cost is Too Damn High!

jimmy mcmillanAmong those who have ever made a purchase online or would consider doing so, the biggest deterrent for completing a purchase online is high shipping costs (64%) for all countries except Brazil. The highest levels were in Canada (79%), Australia (76%) and France and the U.S. (both 73%).

Overall, additional fees owed at the time of delivery, including duties and taxes, was the second highest barrier with total respondents (48%), with the exception of China. This was most prevalent with online shoppers in Canada (65%), Brazil (57%) and the U.K. (56%).

Product delivery taking too long was the third largest barrier (39%) among overall respondents. The highest response rate came from online shoppers in Brazil (52%), South Korea and the U.S. (both 44%), and the U.K. (43%).

Online return policies and processes was a deterrent to one out of three consumers, with the highest in India (46%), Germany (44%) and the U.S. (39%).

Is It safe?

is it safeWhen asked if it is safe (i.e., data security, fraud) to purchase a product online from a retailer based in another country, 49% of consumers who have ever made a purchase online, or would consider doing so, agreed, compared to 46% of consumers in the 2014 study.

Only 20% of consumers said they did not think it was safe and another 30% said they did not know if it was safe.

In Brazil, 71% of consumers thought it was safe in the 2015 study, versus 62% last year. There were also more consumers indicating that it was safe in Australia (68%, up from 63% in 2014), China (52% versus 43%), Germany (36% versus 31%), France (42% versus 35%), India (66% versus 61%) and the U.K. (55% versus 54%). The percentage of consumers in Russia and the U.S. stayed the same this year.

For South Korea and Canada, there was a decrease in the number of shoppers who said it was safe to buy products online from retailers outside their own country. Forty-three percent of consumers in South Korea said it was safe, compared to 47% in the 2014 study. In Canada, there was a slight decrease. Sixty percent of online shoppers said it was safe in 2015 compared to 62% last year.

Those in Japan are still by far the least likely to believe that these purchases are safe (18% in the 2015 study versus 17% in 2014). Thirty-three percent said it was not safe and 49% said they did not know.

Where to Buy From

online shoppingConsumers were asked about what type of online sites, if any, they would consider purchasing products from. About two out of three consumers (66%) chose online marketplaces, such as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, while 62% chose retailers’ online sites.

Consumers in Russia (78%), China and the U.S. (both 76%), and the U.K. (74%) are much more likely to buy products online from online marketplaces than other online sites. Consumers in Japan (44%) and South Korea (49%) are the least likely to buy from online marketplaces.

Thirty-two percent of consumers in the study said they would consider purchasing products they found on search engines, including Yahoo, Google, Bing, Yandex and Bairdo. Countries with the highest levels were China 46%), followed by Japan (40%) and India (39%).

Twelve percent of consumers said they would consider purchasing products they found online on social media companies, like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, Wechat and Line. This was much higher with consumers in India (27%) than any other country. This was followed by China (16%) and Brazil (15%). Social media was the lowest with respondents in Japan (5%), France (6%) and Germany (7%).

Tim Parry is Managing Editor of Multichannel Merchant.

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