This year, we surveyed more than 34,000 consumers across 31 countries and asked how and why they shop online both domestically and internationally. At a macro-level, their responses reveal major opportunities:
International online shopping continues to increase at a rapid pace. Across the 31 countries surveyed, about 50 percent of consumers surveyed say they shop online internationally – led by 70 percent of Middle Eastern consumers and 62 percent of African consumers. In countries like Ireland, Austria and Israel, around 80 percent of shoppers polled say they make online purchases with international merchants annually. Clothing and footwear (68 percent), consumer electronics (53 percent) and toys (53 percent) are the most popular products purchased internationally.
Mobile and tablet online purchasing is growing and approaching nearly half of all purchase volume in some of the world’s most populated countries. According to the survey, in China, 53 percent of purchases are made on a mobile or tablet, 48 percent in India and 45 percent in the U.S. With the exception of Eastern Europe, purchases on mobile and tablet devices make up 30 percent or more of total payment volume across the world.
E-commerce growth is making headway in developing countries. In countries like India, Argentina and the Philippines, consumers surveyed report significant increases in their online spending year-over-year – with 42 percent, 40 percent and 26 percent annual e-commerce growth rates in each country respectively.
At PayPal, we’ve seen marked annual growth in cross-border payment volume with international online purchases on our platform increasing by 49 percent from Q1 2016 to Q1 2018. How can merchants identify and connect with consumers who are willing to make purchases internationally? Our survey findings highlight four key areas for merchants to hone in on to grow their global sales opportunities, including:
- Competitive pricing.The number one reason (72 percent) consumers across the globe cited they shop internationally is for better prices. Merchants who compete on price or offer discounts to shoppers will have a better chance at winning globally. Consumers look at pricing holistically – 25 percent say high delivery shipping costs would prevent them from making purchases from websites in another country, and 24 percent express similar concerns with paying customs duties, fees or taxes associated with the purchase. Merchants who transparently list all fees associated with a purchase up-front have a better chance of seeing international shopper conversions.
- Unique products. The second most cited reason consumers shop internationally is for the novelty of accessing items that are not available in their own country (49 percent) or to discover new and interesting products (34 percent). Over half of global consumers who shop from merchants in Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Canada do so for access to items not available in their country, and four-out-of-10 who shop from merchants in the Czech Republic, Israel and Brazil do so for new and interesting products. Merchants who offer unique products and have a clear SEO strategy in place to make products easy to search for will get ahead in these markets.
- Local currency options.Three out of four consumers polled would prefer having an option to pay for their purchase in their local currency while six in 10 check conversion rates before making a purchase. Offering payment through PayPal can easily cater to these needs, as our platform enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies.
- Security and peace of mind. When choosing a payment method, “a secure way to pay” (44 percent) is international shoppers’ top consideration. Additionally, consumers cited they are looking for peace of mind that their order will get to them (24 percent) and that they can return it (22 percent) should anything be wrong with it. PayPal offers both Purchase Protection for consumers and Seller Protection for merchants –that help secure eligible transactions for both parties.
I encourage every business owner to evaluate adjustments you can make to grow your business and open more doors with international shoppers.
Data was weighted in all countries to adjust for panel bias based on external trend data on incidence of online shoppers in each country.