Cross-border E-Commerce: global or intra-regional?

Posted on: Cross-Border | Blog on March 01, 2017

With more than 50% of online shoppers buying directly from overseas sellers, cross-border E-Commerce sales have reached a triple-digit figure in billions of U.S. dollars. By 2020, this number is projected to increase still further, consequently gaining a higher share of the world’s online retail sales. Asia-Pacific is projected have the largest cross-border B2C E-Commerce sales in 2020, followed by Western Europe and North America. With the cross-border online shopping trend thus being overarching, it is interesting to see how strong it is between the different regions.

One way to address this question is to look at the rankings of top countries that online shoppers in various markets buy from. Sellers from the USA, Japan and South Korea are among the favorites for cross-border online shoppers in China. Online shoppers in India tend to buy more from the USA, the UK and China, while cross-border online shoppers in Japan, which account for only a small share of overall online buyers in this country, favor China and the USA. In North America, cross-border online shoppers from the USA purchase from merchants in China, Canada and the UK the most, and those in Canada mostly buy from the USA. The rankings thus show that both neighboring markets and countries outside of own region are purchased from by cross-border online shoppers.

The cross-border trend tends to be somewhat more intra-regional in Europe, where 28 states share a common EU market. The percentage of online buyers purchasing from other EU countries in 2016 was more than 1.5 times higher than the share of those buying from countries outside the EU. Recent figures for cross-border E-Commerce exports from Germany and Spain reveal that the majority is sold to shoppers in other EU countries. Nevertheless, China and the USA frequently come up among the top destinations cited by cross-border online shoppers from multiple European countries.

Overall, the contribution of cross-border online purchases made from countries in regions outside of one’s own tends to be higher in less developed emerging E-Commerce markets, like the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and lower in regions with advanced online retail such as North America and Western Europe.

For detailed information about cross-border B2C E-Commerce, see our report “Global Cross-Border B2C E-Commerce 2017”.

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