According to research conducted by online payments company PayPal and market research firm Ipsos, those in China are the biggest buyers of British goods, followed by those in the US. The analysis found that 25% of cross-border consumers buying online from the UK are from China and 18% are from the States.
PayPal, which helps businesses to export online, commissioned further independent research from Ipsos, who interviewed more than 17,500 adults in 22 markets. It found that overall, the UK was the third most popular shopping destination for international online shoppers, after traditional exporting powerhouses - China and the US.
In China, the most common reason for international e-commerce is to purchase clothes, footwear and accessories. 45% of Chinese cross-border consumers have bought a product from these sectors from another country in the last 12 months. 38% of Chinese cross-border consumers have bought cosmetics and beauty products online from abroad, whilst 31% have purchased consumer electronics, computers, tablets, mobiles and other peripherals.
Over half (53%) of the Chinese online shoppers interviewed in the Ipsos survey said that they would be more likely to buy online from abroad if businesses provided a safe way to pay. Providing customer support in local languages would make 45% more likely to spend online internationally, whilst free shipping and free return shipping would encourage 43% and 42% of online shoppers to buy from abroad respectively.
In the US, clothing, footwear and accessories were also the biggest reasons for international online shopping in the last year, with 34% of US cross-border shoppers surveyed buying these products from abroad in the past 12 months. Toys, hobbies, travel and transportation are the subsequent most popular reasons to shop online internationally, with 18% of cross-border consumers buying from each of these groups. Jewellery is a close third, with 17% of cross-border buyers purchasing internationally in this category. Four out of 10 US online shoppers said that free shipping would make them more likely to shop online internationally. Meanwhile, 29% of online shoppers said that free return shipping, lower overall item costs and providing a safe way to pay would encourage them to shop more online abroad.
Cameron McLean, Managing Director at PayPal UK, said:
“Given the ongoing woes in the Eurozone, the strength of Chinese and US online demand for British goods will come as welcome news to British exporting businesses. We’ve seen that Chinese spending on Singles’ Day, the world’s biggest online retail sales day that took place earlier this month in China, generated billions of pounds in sales. This presents a huge opportunity for British businesses - particularly in retail, consumer electronics and cosmetics – if they access the market.”
Earlier this year, PayPal rolled out PassPort – a website designed to empower small businesses and inspire new opportunities in foreign markets. It provides country-specific guidance on seasonal sales peaks, including holidays and events; cultural customs, taboos and trends; shipping and distribution logistics; currency exchange and fees; and customs procedures and taxes.
The top markets for online international shopping are:
- Hong Kong