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Most Cross-Border Shoppers Buy Clothing, Shoes and US E-tail Has the Biggest Draw

Thanks to the convenience and ease of shopping online, people around the globe are no longer limited to acquiring goods solely from their home country—and cross-border e-commerce is opening up lucrative new opportunities to retailers chasing growth.

According to a new survey from e-commerce payments tech firm BlueSnap, global shoppers from every country included in its field most often choose to shop on U.S. retail websites—even Chinese consumers, who have access to some of the world’s most innovative commerce experiences courtesy of companies like Alibaba and JD.com.

So what lures international consumers to American e-commerce? They can choose from more stuff, and more of that stuff is in stock and available, said 63 percent.

In line with its challenging retail environment, Australia leads the pack when it comes to shoppers who most often purchase internationally. The 47 percent who do so top Europe’s 43 percent, while 37 percent of Americans also buy goods from overseas at least once every month.

People in the U.S. most commonly purchase from the U.K. (39.7 percent) and China (39 percent) and regardless of the country they shop, they’re buying clothing and shoes (51 percent), jewelry and accessories (40.8 percent) and beauty products (37.3 percent), BlueSnap’s data found. American consumers purchase from international e-commerce sites because they find the things they want at a cheaper price (59.3 percent) and claim foreign online shops have a better selection of available merchandise (50 percent). Some desired brands are only available through another country’s website, said 48.6 percent. Despite shopping across borders in strong numbers, 72 percent complained about how long it takes for international packages to arrive—victims, perhaps, of the Amazon effect.

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Similar to the U.S. findings, international shoppers most commonly purchase apparel footwear via cross-border e-commerce. The French (58.6 percent) and Spanish (58.1 percent) look abroad for their wardrobe needs in the highest numbers, followed by Germany (52.8 percent) and Canada (51 percent).

Cross-border shopping might be going strong but people see considerable room for improvement. They’re not happy with how much international shipping fees set them back (64 percent) or how long it takes their orders to traverse land and sea to arrive at their homes (61 percent).

People trust PayPal (64 percent) when paying for their cross-border purchases, according to BlueSnap’s survey. Shoppers in every country save Canada favor PayPal. Europeans especially like using PayPal; Germans use it the most (76 percent), though usage by Italians (73 percent) and Brits (70 percent) aren’t much farther behind.

BlueSnap CEO Ralph Dangelmaier noted that retailers interested in reaching overseas shoppers must find a comprehensive payments solution that solves the complicated financial workings across borders.

“As cross-border shopping continues to become more prevalent, it is extremely important for retailers in all regions of the world to pay attention to international consumer payment and shopping preferences,” he said.