Cross-border Online Shopping

One of the major success stories from the epidemic has been the growth of online shopping, fueled by lock downs and the American recession. Consumers in the United States are increasing their desire for cheap items, which retailers are eager to obtain from low-cost places such as China. Cross-border online shopping on marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon has arisen as a growing possibility for buyers to discover those low-cost offers and sellers to build small-town companies into flourishing businesses.

Market is expecting global internet spending to hit a whopping $4.2 trillion this year, with no signs of stopping. According to customer research conducted by Internet Retailing, more than 40% of post-pandemic internet transactions are taking place on overseas marketplaces. Consumers’ price sensitivity drives merchants to meet them where they want to buy and provide competitive prices.

Cross-border Online Shopping Growth

Marketplace vendors’ development potential is thus dependent on verified access to reputable suppliers. However, for many entrepreneurs, entering foreign marketplaces can still be challenging. Merchants seek confidence that the person they are doing business with is whom they claim to fulfill the demand for low-cost items. They must be assured that the product quality will not suffer due to the reduced price point, that the transactions will be safe, and that the items will come on schedule.

Millennials have propelled the increase in international direct-to-consumer e-commerce purchases leading to online shopping growth in the past six months, with limited access to shops at the time of the pandemic prompting more than half of 25–34-year-olds to shop online straight from international brands, according to the most recent data from eShopWorld.

According to the Pre-Peak Pulse 2021 study of over 15,000 customers from 14 nations, 52 percent of buyers were inspired to buy online or do international shopping at the time of the pandemic. This figure climbed to 58 percent among 25–44-year-olds, as closed shops and limited access to physical shops led customers to buy products online that they would have verified and purchased in-store. This was most noticeable in India and South Africa (both 63 percent ), followed by the UAE (56 percent ), China (53 percent ), and the United States (52 percent).

What were the Primary Motivators for this Shift? 

It has undoubtedly been a dramatic change in the last 18 months, and it can only be sustained if there are generational transitions behind it.

Reduced retail access also increased cross-border online shopping on an international shopping portal, with nearly half (46%) of global buyers polled, stating it drove them to buy straight from an international brand online, increasing to 52% among those aged 25–34. In the first half of 2021, consumers in China and India (both 61 percent ), Mexico (59 percent ), and Russia (50 percent ) were the most likely to have bought straight from an international brand online.

Consequently, typically, ‘high contact’ products that customers would have confirmed in-store – either by trying on or testing them – revealed to be the most popular sort of online shopping international during the preceding six months. Over time, a quarter (25%) of global consumers purchased apparel online outside their home country, while cosmetics (16%), fragrance (16%), health and beauty (17%), skincare (17%), luxury items (18%), and footwear (19%) rounded out the top five international e-commerce purchases. Once again, Gen Z and millennials shopping led the way, with three times the rate of Baby Boomers (those aged 57–75) making cross-border purchases.

The vast increase in cross-border trade that occurred during 2020 has continued in 2021 due to changes in millennials shopping habits, but with a more subdued year-over-year growth. Luxury was the fastest growing of the top five most popular cross-border e-commerce sectors over the last six months, up 6 percent compared to the end of last year, followed by fragrance and skincare (both up 4 percent over the period).

Trends in Millennials Online Shopping

This rise in cross-border online shopping for luxury purchases, led primarily by younger buyers, may have been spurred by new international millennial shopping trends brought on by the pandemic, according to ESW statistics.

Some 56% of worldwide buyers acknowledged increasing their online purchasing as a coping technique, either to reward themselves for surviving lock downs or to ease the mental burden of the epidemic. Nevertheless, more than a quarter (28%) claimed they had purchased extra internet ‘treats’ or ‘gifts’ for family and friends during the pandemic to compensate for not being able to meet them in person.

While 57 percent of worldwide customers polled claimed the epidemic had opened their eyes to the ease and variety available online – a figure that rose to 63 percent among Millennials – 71% said they would continue to buy through a combination of physical and digital channels after the pandemic. As several nations continue to relax COVID-19 limitations, this underlines the necessity of omnichannel capabilities in businesses’ international commerce strategy.

Brands who comprehend the transformation of conventional retailing see the significance of integrating direct international e-commerce trade into their existing omni-channel framework. Future stores will be experiential meccas, where businesses will advocate and reinforce the brand identities and experiences they are developing on social media. But, without question, the transactional engine for future development has raced towards digital channels, and it is not very sure that trend would ever reverse.

Where do Millennials Shop?

Millennials and Generation Z customers have flocked toward social platforms, and we believe that retailers, too, can be social platforms. How many Millennials and Gen Z consumers do we see in stores snapping selfies or putting lipstick to themselves, then messaging and sending the image to receive feedback from their friends? Stores that continue to innovate themselves will have a fantastic role in the overall retail plan. Brands are rethinking the necessity for as many outlets as they did ten years ago. To succeed, retailers must increase their efforts to develop a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of foreign markets – across all sales channels and consumer touch points – to provide localized, customer-centric, as well as cost-competitive shopping experiences. Only then will businesses capitalize on the cross-border online shopping potential by retaining existing consumers and recruiting new ones.

Brands that work with ESW may enter new foreign markets in as little as six weeks, which is up to six times quicker than attempting to do so on their own – all while connecting directly with customers and maintaining control of all data acquired during the purchasing experience.

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