Commerce Tips

The Complete Guide to International eCommerce Markets

international-ecommerce-feature.png

You realize there is a great big world out there that you are not currently selling to. Your focus has been on your home market for the last while, but now you are ready to make the jump and sell internationally. But where do you start? You have come to the right place!

In this guide I will go over some of the top international ecommerce markets and show you if they make sense to target. We will look at: total ecommerce sales, popular products, percentage of sales from international stores, and which countries they are most likely to shop from.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading these five tips to selling internationally, before you read this guide. But without further ado, let’s get into the guide.

 

Chinainternational ecommerce china

Online Shopping Stats

80%

Shop Online

26%

Shop Internationally

68%

Shop on Mobile

International Shoppinginternational ecommerce china international spending

Additional Information

When it comes to online shopping the Chinese are primarily motivated by convenience and savings. For this reason it should come as no surprise that Chinese shoppers look for sites that offer free shipping. They are also concerned with financial security and will look for sites with secure payment options. The preferred payment option in China is Alipay.

There are some interesting cultural things to note that can give you an advantage as well. Gifts are often wrapped in red, a symbol of luck. You can offer red packaging for customers if you are selling to the Chinese market. Just be sure to avoid yellow packaging, a gift wrapped in yellow with black writing is only for the dead.

Also note that the Chinese ecommerce market is very large, but a small percentage is purchased from stores abroad. This makes China a tough market to crack.

 

United Statesinternational ecommerce united states

Online Shopping Stats

70%

Shop Online

30%

Shop Internationally

31%

Shop on Mobile

International Shopping

international ecommerce international shoppingAdditional Information

Americans are motivated to shop online by convenience. Shoppers state that they like to shop online because it saves them making a trip to the store to purchase the same thing. When Americans look to buy from international stores they are very focused on shipping, both cost and speed.

To encourage American shoppers to purchase from an international store you must state expected delivery time. Almost half of American online shoppers say that international shipping isn’t fast enough. This plays into their focus on convenience. About half of shoppers also expect to receive free shipping. If you are targeting the American market be sure that you have your shipping logistics sorted out. You can read Practical Ecommerce’s “5 tips to ship internationally” for more tips.

 

United Kingdom

international ecommerce united kingdomOnline Shopping Stats

76%

Shop Online

42%

Shop Internationally

33%

Shop on Mobile

International Shopping

international ecommerce united kingdom international spendingAdditional Information

UK shoppers have a tendency to purchase from international stores. Almost 50% of online shoppers have shopped for goods at international sites. When shopping abroad UK shoppers like to have free return shipping. This means that if the item they purchased is not what they expected, they want to be able to send it back at no expense. If you are targeting the UK market expect to have customers ask for this reassurance.

Like many other countries on this list, shoppers from the United Kingdom are more likely to shop at an international site if they are given free shipping offers.

 

Germany

international ecommerce germanyOnline Shopping Stats

77%

Shop Online

44%

Shop Internationally

26%

Shop on Mobile

International Shopping

international ecommerce germany international spendingAdditional Information

One of the greatest motivators for Germans is security. They are looking for both secure payment options and secure use of their personal information. If you are targeting the German market be sure to show secure checkout badges or have security confirmation somewhere on the checkout page. It also helps if you activley say you will not be selling or giving away personal info such as email address.

Germans do not see a credit card as a secure form of payment, any many will not checkout with one. If you want to tailor your store to an international audience, you will need to provide different payment options. According to creditcardworld.com Germans prefer to pay for orders with bank transfers. Germans also put a lot of emphasis on Birthdays and Anniversaries, which you can target with your store.

 

Franceinternational ecommerce france

Online Shopping Stats

70%

Shop Online

50%

Shop Internationally

21%

Shop on Mobile

International Shoppinginternational ecommerce france international spendingAdditional Information

The French primarily shop online to find unique items that they cannot purchase from a bricks and mortar store. At first glance it seems that France is an ideal target for international ecommerce, 50% have purchased from an international store. The majority of these purchases are coming from close neighboring countries (Germany & UK), likely due to cheaper shipping costs.

The French are also skeptical of shopping online and are very hesitant to pay online with a credit card. If you are targeting French consumers be sure to offer other forms of payment besides credit. The most common method of payment is debit cards. The French also like a good sale, physical retailer can only have a sale a maximum 5 weeks a year. Meaning a lot of ecommerce shopping is done to find sales.

 

Canadainternational ecommerce canada

Online Shopping Stats

63%

Shop Online

74%

Shop Internationally

19%

Shop on Mobile

International Shoppinginternational ecommerce canada international spendingAdditional Information

In Canada an astonishing 74% of ecommerce purchases are international. This might make you think it is a logical place to start your ecommerce expansion, but be careful. While Canada is comfortable shopping abroad, 98% of purchases are made in one of the three countries listed above. The United States account for 68% of international purchases in Canada.

If you are an American retailer it makes sense to expand your online presence to the north. Canadians are already comfortable buying American goods and the country is both geographically and culturally close to the States. When conducting business in Canada you should focus on free shipping thresholds. Free shipping is the number one incentive to buy online in the country.

 

Russiainternational ecommerce russia

Online Shopping Stats

63%

Shop Online

58%

Shop Internationally

34%

Shop on Mobile

International Shoppinginternational ecommerce russia international spendingAdditional Information

Trust is a big factor in a Russian shoppers decision process. When shopping online they are concerned about the legitimacy of a product or that it will arrive different than described. You can combat this by using customer reviews and high quality product shots. The concern over the item not arriving as described leads to one other issue.

The Russian market is also very concerned with return policies. They want to be reassured that they can return and order if it does not meet their requirements. This would be a mild inconvenience if they were to pay by credit card but unfortunately they prefer to pay cash on delivery.Only 32% of Russians are prepared to pay online with a credit card.

 

Brazil

international ecommerce brazilOnline Shopping Stats

70%

Shop Online

50%

Shop Internationally

34%

Shop on Mobile

International Shoppinginternational ecommerce brazil spendingAdditional Information 

For Brazilians shopping online is about the convenience. That is why the biggest concern that a shopper has is fast shipping times. When a Brazilian shopper orders online they want it to get their fast. Make sure you show your shipping times and prices where they can easily find it.

Brazil also is expected to be one of the fastest growing international ecommerce markets. The dollars spent online shopping is expected to double by 2018. This fast growing market can have great long term gains for those that can establish a presence before the boom.

Thanks for reading the international ecommerce guide. Total ecommerce expenditure was courtesy of emarketer, and figures for individual countries are courtesy of PayPal's PassPort. I hope you now have a better idea of what international ecommerce markets make sense for your business.

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