One of the main advantages that e-commerce has over stationary retail is that it has almost unlimited reach. There are practically no borders on the internet. In addition, online retailers can offer their products not only to everyone in their home country with access to the internet, but potentially to clients all over the world. Of course, selling to clients internationally implies great logistic challenges, delivery costs, and administrative hurdles. However, various online retailers still use the opportunity to sell their products across national borders and exploit the potential of foreign markets.
Shopping at foreign online stores
Especially smaller countries such as Ireland or Austria. They have a strong economy speaking the same language “next door” and having a significant cross-border e-commerce share. Roughly one third of e-commerce revenues in Ireland and one fifth in Austria come from purchases made at stores based outside the country.
Shopping at foreign online stores is also quite popular among consumers in Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. This conclusion was pulled from survey carried out by mydealz in March 2021. The great majority of consumers have bought something from an online store based outside their home country at least once. Germany leads, with 85% of consumers having bought something at an online store based outside Germany. Cross-border shopping is a little less common in France and the UK. Here, 82% and 76% of consumers have purchased from online stores abroad, respectively.
Price is the most popular reason for shopping cross-border
The price is the most popular reason for cross-border online shopping in all three countries. French online shoppers are most attentive to prices. 83% of respondents in France said that the reason why they shopped at foreign stores was because they found a well-priced offer. Respondents in Germany and the UK named the price a little less often. It was a reason to shop abroad for 79% and 75% of respondents, respectively.
The second most popular reason for cross-border online shopping is that a product is only available at a store based outside the home country. Just below half of respondents in all three countries stated that they bought products from foreign online stores because they were only available at the respective store.
Not aware of shopping cross-border
A significant share of British respondents were not aware that a store was based outside the UK when they ordered – 16% said so. In the other two countries, the share is below 10%.
Germany has the greatest share of respondents who said that they simply wanted to try out ordering something from an online store outside their home country. It turns out that Germany is the most popular country for French cross-border shoppers. More than half of them order from German online stores. Germans, on the other hand, most frequently buy from stores based in China (62%).
Not an everyday business
All in all, cross-border online shopping is still not an everyday business for consumers in Germany, France, and the UK. Only 15% of German, 20% of French, and 13% of British consumers have made an online purchase from foreign stores five times or more.