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33% Global Shoppers Cite Online Return Policies as Major Problem

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Cross-border e-commerce is set to swell to $1 trillion in sales in 2020, according to a recent report by Accenture and AliResearch, but a new study has found that a couple of things could potentially impede that growth.

Pitney Bowes on Wednesday published its second annual Global Online Shopping Study and found that the biggest barriers facing international sellers are high shipping costs (64 percent), additional fees owed when the goods arrive (48 percent) and slow delivery (39 percent).

The technology company enlisted ORC International to survey about 12,000 adults across 12 countries regarding their online shopping perceptions, habits and preferences and found that online return policies were a major deterrent for 33 percent of global shoppers, with India feeling most anxious (46 percent), followed by Germany (44 percent) and the U.S. (39 percent).

Another problem: localization. Thirty percent of respondents said they would be put off by merchants who do not offer their preferred form of payment, while 29 percent don’t like it when product descriptions are in a foreign language. Likewise, 27 percent said they would be discouraged from buying something from a merchant that doesn’t accept credit cards and 25 percent felt that way when they couldn’t see pricing listed in their local currency.

“In today’s global marketplace, e-commerce is continuing to connect the world’s economies in new ways, making it possible for brands to sell, compete and expand their footprint,” said Lila Snyder, president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes. “By focusing on the consumer—what they want and how they like to shop—brands can develop the right roadmap to achieve global ecommerce success.”

In other findings

• Sixty-two percent of respondents use search engines as the preferred method to find products.
• Nearly a quarter of consumers said they make the most online purchases on mobile devices.
• Online shoppers in the U.K. (37 percent), India (36 percent), China (34 percent) and the U.S. (29 percent) had the highest rates for using a mobile device.
• The U.S. (71 percent), U.K. (44 percent) and Germany (39 percent) continue to be the most desirable e-destinations for consumers to purchase goods online outside their own country.
• A third of global online shoppers have purchased products online from retailers in other countries.
• Price is the top reason (61 percent) shoppers have purchased or would consider purchasing a product from an online retailer outside of their own country, followed by availability (40 percent), quality and better selection (both 30 percent). Product authenticity was highest in India, (36 percent), China and South Korea (both 30 percent) and Russia (22 percent).

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