Better prices are the biggest driver of cross-border ecommerce

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PayPal has published a new report called PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2018 that examines global trends in cross-border ecommerce. You can find the full report here.

One of the findings of the survey, which predominantly looks at consumer behaviour, is that by far and away the number one reason why shoppers buy from sellers overseas is to get better prices than are available in local retail.

Cross-border ecommerce

Of course, there’s nothing particularly surprising about that, but the proportion of people who say it, compared to the other very valid reasons, is surprisingly high. And that might be encouragement to British merchants at this time thinking about cross-border ecommerce. With sterling experiencing relative weakness against other major world currencies, items priced in pounds can look particularly well-priced at the moment.

There’s a stack of other interesting information and graphics to inform your mercantile decisions. But here are just a few that caught our eye.

Paypal cross border trade

In this figure the enthusiasm for cross-border ecommerce in the Republic of Ireland, especially considering that the country is the United Kingdom’s nearest neighbour, is interesting: 84% of online shoppers are happy to trade cross border. That makes the Irish the most enthusiastic cross-border online shoppers in the world.

Of course, Britain and Ireland have close trading ties and it seems likely that shopping from the UK is the biggest driver of this quite striking figure but the use of the euro too means that ecommerce with other Eurozone countries is extremely easy. And it does also highlight that a porous border between the Republic and Britain is an important, and as yet unresolved, ecommerce issue.

Paypal cross-border ecommerce

And the good new is that there isn’t one overwhelming deterrent for shoppers. Although that might change in Europe when Brexit occurs.

PayPal notes that in partnership with Ipsos they conducted the global 31 market survey with approximately 34,000 consumers to examine how people shop online and across borders to gain insight into 3 main areas:

  • How online commerce, and specifically cross-border commerce is evolving
  • How and why consumers shop online domestically & across borders
  • How consumers pay for domestic and cross-border transactions


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