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Shoppers more likely to buy from international markets: studies

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Shoppers are becoming ever more willing to buy online from international markets, according to two new reports out this week. Here what the two studies, from Forrester and Pitney Bowes, say about cross-border shopping.

In its Online Crossborder Forecast, 2017 to 2022 (Europe), Forrester predicts that half of European online shoppers will regularly buy across borders by 2022. It finds that already between 50% and 60% of cross-border purchases in clothing and accessories, consumer electronics and luxury goods in the UK France, Germany, Italy and Spain are being bought from within Europe. Some 61% of cross-border sales made by small UK businesses are destined for Europe. And although UK shoppers are also “significantly” more likely to buy cross-border from North America than buyers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, only 20% of UK online cross-border sales came from North American in 2016, and just 6% from Asia.

Shoppers buying across borders within Europe are more likely to use marketplaces than domestic shoppers. These shoppers are buying clothes and consumer electronics, the report found, and, to a lesser extent, jewellery, luxury goods, sporting goods, car parts and cosmetics. Travel services are most frequently bought online and across borders: 27% of online bookings for airlines, and 22% of online bookings for hotels, come from a different country.

Meanwhile, Pitney Bowes’ 2017 Global Ecommerce Study questioned 12,000 consumers from 12 markets and 1,200 retailers from eight markets and found that 70% of shoppers said they had shopped internationally this year, up from 64% previously. More than two-thirds (67%), it found, look on marketplaces from Amazon and eBay to Flipkart and TMall to look for products, compared to 40% who visit retail websites. They say that 62% of their cross-border purchases and 59% of domestic purchases now take place on online marketplaces, rather than retailer websites. The trend is most visible in China, Germany, India and Japan.

However, 47% reported frustration on issues from shipping to returns and lost products.

“As consumers become more experienced with online shopping, they’re shifting more of their holiday spend online and expecting better and better service from retailers,” said Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president, global ecommerce and presort services, Pitney Bowes. “Online shoppers have an entire global marketplace at their fingertips. They expect that there is always a way to get the product they want, shipped where they want, when they want it. This creates both opportunities and challenges for retailers.”

Snyder continued, “With even more purchases expected to be online this year, retailers need to double-down on the elements of the consumer experience that matter most – delivery, returns, tracking and world-class customer care.”

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