What international e-commerce retailers need to know

What international e-commerce retailers need to know

Amine Khechfe, the general manager and co-founder of Endicia, considers how US consumer habits compare to the rest of the world. Ecommerce has completely changed the way business is done throughout the world, but that isn’t to say that all online consumers have the same habits. Since online shopping is now mainstream, the question that online retailers should be asking is how ecommerce trends differ globally.

A 2015 consumer study conducted by PwC looked at the online purchasing habits of more than 19,000 online shoppers in 19 different countries. The market research found that many countries are seeing more online shopping than ever before. It also revealed that while behaviors vary by country, consumers around the globe share the same expectations when it comes to online shopping — they want efficiency, convenience and enjoyment.

It’s no secret that the United States is one of the top countries in the ecommerce market, with a predicted $349 billion of total retail sales for 2015. But how do U.S. consumers habits compare to consumers in other countries?

Here are a few global online shopping statics from the study:

  • Countries that shop the most on a monthly basis: Almost all Chinese consumers (96% to be exact) surveyed by PwC shopped at least once per month. That number is hardly surprising, given the success of Chinese-based ecommerce giant Alibaba and the country’s emerging middle-class. Following China are Germany (81%), UK (81%) and India (78%). The United States comes in fifth place, with 72% of consumers shopping online at least once a month
  • Top regions willing to pay for same-day delivery: South African residents are the most willing to pay for same-day delivery (79%). Following that are Australians (69%), Indians (69%), British (69%) and Brazilians (68%). In comparison, 61%of U.S. consumers are OK with paying for same-day delivery.
  • Countries that are more willing to use digital currency: The top three countries that are most in favor of using digital currency are India (71%), Brazil (66%) and China (58%). In the United States, only 28% of consumers are willing to use digital currency, such as Bitcoin. U.S. consumers do not feel comfortable with the idea of virtual currency as there is a lot of speculation in the U.S. regarding the safety of virtual currencies.
  • Items purchased the most online: On a global scale, the products that are purchased the most online are entertainment products such as books, movies, music and video games. The study revealed that 63% of shoppers said they prefer to purchase these items online, while 31% said they would rather buy from a store.

While the study confirmed that ecommerce is expanding globally, it also confirmed that brick-and-mortar sellers are not going anywhere anytime in the near future. It gave the example that Russian fashion retailer Lamodais taking new steps to compete with online merchants by providing some of the same advantages of online shopping. The company delivers clothing to customers’ homes, allowing 15 minutes to try on the products, and then takes the unpurchased products back to the store.

Online retailers should keep these trends in mind when thinking about expanding their business internationally. This can affect everything from what shipping services to offer, what products to sell, and which markets are even worth pursuing.

This article is based on a blog originally published at The Savvy Shipper.


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