Nearly two thirds of consumers intend to spend less and cut back on online shopping, IPC survey finds

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The International Postal Corporation (IPC) has released the 2022 edition of its Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey, which found that 65% of consumers intend to stop spending as much and cut back on shopping online due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Conducted with 33,009 participants from 39 countries worldwide, the survey accounts for 93% of the world’s e-commerce market. It found that many consumers will continue to shop online, but plan to spend less. Others will look toward free deliveries or click-and-collect services to lower shopping costs. In terms of adjusting shopping behaviors, 24% of respondents said that they will buy more from domestic-based e-shops in the future. This is combined with a significant portion stating that they will buy less from the UK, China and the USA.

When shopping online, surveyed customers continued to value recognizability and shop at retail giants such as Amazon, eBay and AliExpress. The survey revealed that 27% of consumers bought their most recent purchases from Amazon and 17% from Alibaba. However, between 2019 and 2022, both Wish and eBay lost significant cross-border market share, while Amazon increased in several countries. Chinese fashion e-retailer Shein also increased from 0% in 2019 to 6% in 2022.

The researchers also found that sustainability continues to be a point of interest for consumers when shopping online. Approximately 30% of survey participants strongly agreed that they would prefer to wait a few days to receive their package in order to reduce their environmental impact. However, a majority of consumers think that it is the responsibility of the e-retailer rather than the consumer to pay for sustainability measures when it comes to online shopping. Furthermore, 23% strongly agreed that sustainable delivery is too vague and so they would rather not pay for it.

Despite the demand and call for sustainable delivery and shopping options, only 14% ever paid when given this option. The countries where paid-for sustainable delivery options were most popular were Switzerland, China, Finland, Austria and Germany. With stricter rules on importing items in many countries, the number of consumers having to pay customs duties has also increased. Due to several factors including Brexit and the rules for customs changing in the EU and in several other countries, the number of people who paid customs duties has increased from 11% in 2016 to 16% in 2021. According to the report, 79% of respondents were made aware pre-purchase that customs would be applicable for their cross-border purchases. As in previous years, this proportion was lower in Europe than in other regions, with 41% of consumers being alerted in Iceland, 42% in Slovakia and 55% in Croatia.

Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC, said, “The IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey is an invaluable source of information for the postal industry and continues to develop each year, reflecting the dynamics of the markets. By collecting such useful data, posts are able to position themselves to provide the best possible delivery experiences for consumers by understanding their needs and expectations.”

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