Lockdowns boosted cross-border e-commerce
Reduced access to stores also boosted cross-border e-commerce. Almost half (46%) of global shoppers say it prompted them to buy directly from an international brand online. Rising to 52% among those aged 25–34. Consumers in India (61%) and China (61%), Mexico (59%) and Russia (50%) were the most likely to have purchased directly from an international brand online in the first half of 2021.
As a result, traditionally ‘high contact’ items that consumers would have previously validated in-store proved the most popular type of cross-border purchases over the past six months.
Most popular international e-commerce purchases
A quarter (25%) of global shoppers bought clothing online outside their domestic market over the period. Meanwhile footwear (19%), luxury goods (18%), skincare (17%), health and beauty (17%), fragrance (16%) and cosmetics (16%) rounded out the list of the most popular international e-commerce purchases. once again, Millennial and Gen Z shoppers led the way. Making cross-border purchases at three times the rate at of Baby Boomers.
The significant uptick in cross-border commerce throughout 2020 continues in 2021. Although year-over-year growth has been more muted. Of the top five most popular cross-border e-commerce categories, luxury grew the fastest over the past six months, rising with 6%. This is followed by skincare and fragrance, both rising with 4%.
Spending more as a coping mechanism
56% of global shoppers admitted to spending more online as a coping mechanism. Either treating themselves to ‘pick-me-ups’ to reward themselves for getting through lockdowns or to alleviate the emotional stress of the pandemic. Meanwhile, over a quarter (28%) said they had bought more online ‘gifts’ or ‘treats’ for friends and family during the pandemic.
importance of omnichannel capabilities
57% of the global shoppers say COVID-19 had opened their eyes to the convenience and choice on offer online – increasing to 63% among Millennials. Moreover, 71% said that, post-pandemic, they would continue to purchase via a mix of digital and physical channels. This highlights the importance of omnichannel capabilities in retailers’ international commerce strategies as many countries begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions.