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Why Buyers Buy Across Borders

I expect you know that people buy products internationally, that’s probably why your here. You would probably be surprised though, at the amount of people who actually do.

If we look at the United Kingdom, one of the most advanced eCommerce countries in the world with all the factors which you would expect, and everything seems to already be available domestically. Still 75% of people in the UK buying online, shopped online from an international retailer in 2018 (survey commissioned by pepper.com).

The same survey showed that even more people from other European countries were shopping abroad, topping out with 86% of Italian’s purchasing a product internationally in 2018. 

On the reasons why, the pepper.com survey backed up the same statistics that have been showing up for a while in earlier surveys, including a 2014 survey by the IMRG.  The top two reasons are always:

  1. Price.  Around 60% of buyers have brought products internationally because, even with shipping, they are cheaper than what could be found in the UK by the consumer. 
  2. Availability.  Between 34% and 60% of people reported buying abroad as the product couldn’t be found at all in the UK and these figures are higher in many smaller countries. 

Further buyer feedback centered around product quality, the buyer simply not being aware they were buying from abroad and those that actively want to support global initiatives. 

What’s also interesting is the rise in the number of people buying abroad which moved from 48% in 2014 in the UK up to the 75% that pepper.com found last year. I believe this is partly due to shipping becoming more affordable and also the significant rise in retailers selling internationally making more products available to buyers. 

This is the way retail has been moving in the last decade with buyers being less concerned with location as eCommerce becomes more and more ubiquitous in their day to day shopping habits and retailers seeing international as a way to move beyond their traditional domestic competitors.

About Mark Ellis

Here on CBT Pulse Mark shares his knowledge and recommendations for International eCommerce and will shortly be releasing a manual for retailers on the subject. He is a specialist in helping grow retailer's sales overseas and has been leading international selling programs for marketplaces, SaaS companies and directly for retailers over 15 years. He started his career as a freelance software developer building eCommerce shops and marketing websites and has been involved in product development/delivery throughout his career.

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