Prior to 2010, international ecommerce consisted mainly of foreigners buying goods from American and European online sites. Now cross-border shopping is becoming more balanced, with Americans and Europeans buying goods from websites based in countries where manufacturing takes place, such as India and China. Some of the sellers are the manufacturers themselves, but often individuals are selling to overseas customers on eBay.
Nielsen recently conducted a survey of cross border online shoppers in six countries: U.S., U.K., Germany, Brazil, China, and Australia, getting the opinions of more than 6,000 online shoppers who purchased from overseas vendors in 2012. The ensuing report, commissioned by PayPal, “Modern Spice Routes —The Cultural Impact and Economic Opportunity of Cross-Border Shopping,” found that clothing, shoes, and accessories represent the largest cross-border online shopping category in five out of the six markets, with Brazilian shoppers opting for computer hardware. Nielsen predicts that cross-border shopping will contribute 16 percent of total global online sales in 2013.
The top cross-border online shopping categories from the Nielsen report are clothing, shoes and accessories ($12.5bn); health and beauty ($7.6bn); personal electronics ($6bn); computer hardware ($6bn); jewelry, gems and watches ($5.8bn); home electronics ($5.4bn).
Across the six surveyed markets, the top four online shopping destinations for respondents were in order: U.S., U.K., China, and Hong Kong.
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