Pitney Bowes Study Reveals U.S., U.K. and Germany are the Most Desirable International Shopping e-Destinations

Research Also Reveals Most Prevalent Barriers to Cross-border Purchases are Shipping Costs, Delivery Times and Safety


STAMFORD, Conn., October 29, 2014 - New global, online shopping research from Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) reveals that cross-border ecommerce is gaining traction with nearly 40 percent of consumers having purchased goods online from another country. The market opportunity for online retailers looking for a global foothold remains significant.

According to the 2014 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study, the U.S., U.K. and Germany are the most desirable e-destinations for consumers to purchase goods online outside their own country. As a result, retailers based in these countries are in a great position to tap into this trend to expand their reach to global buyers. Australians are the most likely to buy products online from retailers outside their own country (63 percent) followed by Canada and Russia (both 54 percent). Surprisingly, shoppers in South Korea (21 percent), China (19 percent), and India and Japan (both 15 percent) ranked highest in believing they can only purchase goods online from retailers in their own country.

While nearly all respondents (96 percent) have made an online purchase, the relatively low cross-border purchases highlight an opportunity for international retailers that want to capitalize on the $1.5 trillion market opportunity (citation: eMarketer). The Pitney Bowes research reveals that consumer misperceptions around cross-border shopping represent a valuable opportunity for global retailers to raise awareness around the ease and accessibility of online shopping.

“Retailers looking to expand their businesses online to international markets should consider the unique mindsets and shopping preferences of consumers in each country,” says Craig Reed, Vice President of Global Ecommerce, Pitney Bowes. “In addition, it’s critical for retailers to provide buyers with clarity and accuracy in the online buying process, certainty and transparency in delivery, and competitive pricing. Once these barriers to consumer confidence are overcome, the opportunities and appetite for buying goods outside their own country can increase dramatically.”

Barriers to Adoption

According to the study, the biggest barrier to cross-border commerce is high shipping costs (68 percent). This is followed by additional fees at time of delivery, such as duties and taxes (58 percent). Product delivery taking too long was the third largest barrier to completing an online purchase (42 percent).

Another major concern is perceived safety, including data security and fraud. Only 46 percent of respondents said that they thought it was safe to buy a product online from a retailer based outside of their own country. Another 33 percent said they didn’t know if it was safe. Consumers in Japan were by far the least likely to believe that these purchases are safe (17 percent), while over 60 percent of respondents in Australia, Canada, India and Brazil thought it was safe.

These findings indicate that security and real-time fraud detection is an important capability that retailers should consider incorporating into their international ecommerce business--educating global buyers on the safety of online purchases is vital.

Additional study findings

  • Price is the top reason (68 percent) why shoppers have purchased a product from an online retailer outside of their own country or would consider doing so. This was followed by availability (46 percent) and better selection (38 percent). Brand names were the highest with consumers in India (52 percent) and China (34 percent), followed by Russia and South Korea (both 27 percent).
  • The U.S. is by far the top country (70 percent) to be considered by shoppers who have purchased products online or would consider doing so. However, there was a major exception: Russia. While 54 percent of Russian respondents have made international ecommerce purchases, only 35 percent would purchase from the U.S.
  • The ability to track an international order was most important to consumers in Brazil (41 percent), the U.S. (40 percent) and Japan (39 percent), among those who have purchased products online from retailers in other countries or would consider doing so.

Methodology: The 2014 Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Study was conducted online by ORC International and surveyed approximately 12,000 adults across 12 countries regarding their perceptions, habits and preferences for making online purchases. Consumers were polled in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey was conducted in August 2014.

About Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes provides technology solutions for small, mid-size and large firms that help them connect with customers to build loyalty and grow revenue. Many of the company’s solutions are delivered on open platforms to best organize, analyze and apply both public and proprietary data to two-way customer communications. Pitney Bowes includes direct mail, transactional mail and call center communications in its solution mix along with digital channel messaging for the Web, email and mobile applications. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com.