Well-known payment provider PayPal carried out an annual survey in collaboration with Ipsos on cross border purchases by consumers worldwide. For this Cross-Border Consumer Research in 2018, they collected survey results at a global level between March and May 2018, to examine how people shop online and across borders. The survey was conducted in 31 countries among a total of 34,000 consumers who are active online.
According to the survey, online shoppers based in Ireland, Austria and Israel are most likely to shop cross-border. A significant percentage of 19% of Irish online shoppers say they never make purchases at Irish web shops and therefore only shop across borders. Consumers in Japan, Germany and the United States behave the exact opposite way. In these countries, most consumers would rather shop domestically than cross-border.
In general, consumers from the Middle-East (70%) and Africa (62%) are most prevalent to shop cross-border. European consumers follow with 56% of consumers regularly shopping cross-border. In North America, cross-border shopping is less popular: less than half (48%) of the online shoppers use cross-border webshops.
There is no need to mention that cross-border shopping is huge. The above stated facts show that a lot of online shoppers purchase products through web shops that are based in other countries than themselves. However, when they shop cross-border, which countries are the destination of these cross-border purchases? Research shows that the United States and China are online shoppers’ most popular cross-border destinations. 26% of all cross-border purchases are made on a Chinese webshop or platform and the US is the destination for 21% of cross-border purchases. The UK (14%), Germany (10%) and Japan (5%) complete the top five of the most popular cross-border destinations.
Commonly used devices
In addition to the great differences between countries when it comes to shopping domestically or cross-border, there are also differences between the countries in which devices are most popular to use when shopping online. Even though the computer is still the most common device to use for online purchases, mobile devices are becoming more popular.
Online shopping on mobile devices (e.g. tablet, smartphone, smart TV) is most common in Asia (44%), Latin America and Africa (both 41%). Using mobile devices is especially popular in China, the United Arab Emirates and India. In these countries, almost 60% of online shoppers use mobile devices.
However, most online shoppers based in Western Europe (68%), Eastern Europe (71%) and North-America (64%) prefer using a desktop device rather than a mobile device. Online shoppers in Belgium, Germany and France are most hesitant to use mobile devices for online shopping. More than 75% of these online shoppers prefer desktops. This fact is not specifically related to cross-border shopping, but to technology in general. The use of mobile devices is generally less developed in Belgium, Germany and France than in other countries.
Whilst consumers in most western countries are hesitant to use mobile devices for online shopping, consumers in the United States do not seem to share this. 50% of the online purchases in the US are made through a mobile device. On the other hand, 70% of Japanese consumers tend to use desktop devices for making online purchases.
Reasons for shopping cross-border
Costs are the main driver for online shoppers to shop at a cross-border webshop. Today’s online possibilities make it easier to find the desired product for the best price, either domestically or cross-border. This results in 72% of online shoppers purchasing items on cross-border webshops to get the best price.
Another important reason for cross-border shopping is the possibility of buying products that are not available in the home country of the consumer. 49% of the surveyed shoppers says this is a reason for them to shop cross-border. Other reasons for cross-border purchasing are the discovery of new and interesting products (34%), higher product quality (29%) and less expensive shipping (24%).
The PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2018 shows us that cross-border shopping is becoming more and more common. However, there are great differences in online shopping in countries all over the world. Also, the majority of online purchases are still made on a desktop device such as a laptop or PC, although mobile devices are becoming more common to use as online shopping device. In addition, devices such as Smart TV’s and games consoles are progressing when it comes to usage for online shopping. Download the full Cross-Border Consumer Research 2018 here.