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These are the key eCommerce opportunities that will drive your growth

·4-min read

While the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the world last year, online retail sales rose to record levels, with more of those sales made across borders than ever before.

According to PayPal’s 2021 Borderless Commerce Report — which surveyed 13 key markets to understand how buying habits are shaping ecommerce across borders — the jump in international sales was driven, at least in part, by a global leap in smartphone usage and shifts in seasonal buying habits in some of the world’s most vibrant economies.

In 2020, for the first time ever, the smartphone became the planet’s preferred device for online shopping, which in turn accelerated a global shift to new payment methods.

What’s more, PayPal discovered that a substantial chunk of cross-border sales was being propelled by shoppers dropping cash on gifts for holidays, and searching out bargains during discount-driven shopping events.

Shopping across borders since Covid

According to PayPal’s research, the online consumer’s traditional behaviour has been changing, and it will continue to evolve in 2021 and beyond.

PayPal found that global online retail sales grew by 28% last year, and the comfort level of shoppers when making cross-border deals grew by 22% across surveyed markets.

The payments specialist also discovered that the outlook for this year and next is even rosier. It found that 85% of online shoppers declared their spending would stay the same or grow in 2021-22, with 26% intending to start shopping or shop more via international websites.

Most interestingly, PayPal found that seasonal sales soared last year, with holidays as well as retail shopping events and festivals dramatically driving cross-border purchases.

Sales rose with holidays such as Christmas, Diwali and Valentine’s Day, as well as during major shopping events and promotions. Globally, Black Friday is just one such mega shopping extravaganza. Singles’ Day is another, responsible for US$115bn in sales last year alone.

Smartphone hits the tipping point

But what pushed more shoppers online in 2020? And why are they increasingly choosing to buy beyond their national borders?

The increasing adoption of smartphones has been pivotal, with the devices now the favoured method globally for online shopping. PayPal found that smartphones are now used by 43% of online shoppers in the markets it surveyed, compared to 26% for laptops.

More than half of online shoppers surveyed by PayPal in large, developing markets showed a preference for the mobile phone, led by China with 84%.

This has accelerated the embrace of new contactless, cashless payments methods, with the adoption of digital wallets — which reduce data entry, desirable when using small, handheld devices — increasingly pronounced in markets such as Japan and Germany that have long preferred credit cards and cash transactions via electronic bank transfers.

Optimise tech in your holiday sales strategy

For the cross-border retailer, PayPal’s Borderless Commerce Report makes it clear that any strategy to boost sales by targeting holidays and shopping events must be fully optimised for the smartphone. The report also stresses, however, that “technology trends play out differently from market to market, and an essential approach in one market may not yet be supported in another”.

According to PayPal’s study, seasonal shoppers are driven to buy across borders by higher product quality, better prices than they can find at home, and the availability of new and interesting products not available in their domestic markets.

The report also shows that — for all cross-border shoppers across the surveyed markets — security is the principal driver in choosing a payment method. PayPal advises that retailers grab a copy of its new report to “learn more about specific markets to determine which ecommerce options, payment preferences and shopping innovations make sense”.

PayPal: Insights into global ecommerce trends

“We hope that merchants will benefit from these insights and get a better understanding of global trends, as well as the local nuances that influence consumer decision making,” says Maria Yelutina, PayPal’s Marketing Director for Southeast Asia.

She adds that PayPal, as a partner to more than 32 million merchants worldwide, aims to help merchants identify growth potential, empowering them to harness new opportunities.

“This includes powering all aspects of digital checkout online, on mobile and in store,” Yelutina says. “By offering access to seamless credit solutions, we enable growth, help identify fraud and improve risk management. We also offer new tools and insights to attract new customers and increase sales.”

To discover more insights and find out how your business can maximise growth opportunities with PayPal, read our full 2021 Borderless Commerce Report here…

This content was produced in partnership with PayPal.

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