Amazon, eBay and Alibaba account for two-thirds of all online cross-border purchases

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International Post Corporation (IPC), a cooperative association of 24 national postal services from around the world, has released the results of its latest cross-border e-commerce shopper survey, which found that nearly two-thirds of all online cross-border purchases can be attributed to Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.

This year IPC increased the reach of its survey to include more than 24,000 respondents in 26 markets across North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC, said, “The extension of the IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey into 26 global markets strengthens the insights we had collected with the first survey last year. As e-commerce continues to rise it is vital for postal operators to understand the evolving cross-border e-commerce shopper’s expectations. By understanding consumers’ behavior, posts can better meet their needs and remove the remaining obstacles to consumers fully embracing the opportunities of cross-border e-commerce.”

The results showed that consumers in China were the most likely to shop online, with 36% or respondents making a purchase at least once a week. Given that China is the largest e-commerce market in the world ranked by retail e-commerce sales, IPC believes that the results provide an insight into the future of cross-border online shopping in other markets.

The most popular device for shopping online was a laptop (41%), followed by a desktop (36%) and a smartphone (14%). Shopping online with a smartphone is increasingly popular, having grown 9% in the 2015 survey to 14% in 2016. The Chinese lead this trend, with 29% of consumers preferring to shop with a smartphone.

The survey indicated that clear information about delivery charges, free returns and free delivery over a particular value are the most important drivers for cross-border online shoppers. Considering cross-border purchases, consumers are more likely to pay extra for tracking rather than for speed of delivery.

Where are consumers buying from?

China is the most popular market for consumers around the world to shop from, accounting for 26% of most recent cross-border purchases, followed by the USA (16%), Germany (15%) and the UK (15%).

Amazon, eBay and Alibaba were the top three websites used by cross-border consumers in almost all countries. Overall the three accounted for 65% of most recent cross-border purchases.

What are consumers buying?

The top four cross-border shopping categories included clothing, footwear and apparel (33%); consumer electronics (21%); books, music and media (14%); and health and beauty (13%).

When looking at the value of the goods bought by cross-border online shoppers, goods ordered online cross-border are mostly low-weight and low-value items, with 45% weighing less than 500g (1.1 lb), and 16% valued at less than €10 (US$10.70), with a further 40% valued between €10 (US$11) and €49 (US$52).

To download the key findings from the IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey, click here.

January 20, 2017

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, editor-in-chief

Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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