Video: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Global E-commerce

Thank you for visiting our “Top 5 Delivered by DHL” series. It’s a fast and informative way to help you learn more about global topics that affect your business. Below, we’re delivering insights about global e-commerce. Look for more about Going GlobalTPP, CubaBrazil, Avoiding Import Delays, NAFTAInternational Business Travel, and Chile, Peru and Colombia on our YouTube playlist.

Here is the video “Top 5 Delivered by DHL: Global E-commerce,” with a summary below.

The global B2C e-commerce market for shipments crossing borders is expected to grow from $400 billion today to a total global volume of $1 trillion in 2020, according to Accenture and AliResearch. Additionally, it is expected that one billion people will shop online and across borders by 2020, with the United States being the most popular origin for 25 percent of consumers worldwide. Very few other sectors of commerce provide such a promising outlook.

The bottom line is that e-commerce affects nearly every industry sector. Small and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs, should understand global customers’ decision-making processes and align their e-commerce activities accordingly.

DHL’s Shop the World study reveals consumer attitudes toward global e-commerce and the significant differences between countries. Below are the key e-commerce trends and takeaways for your business from the Shop the World study:

1. How global buyers find retailers

Many global buyers start their shopping online experience by doing research via search engines to gain information on products. This is followed by personal recommendations and customer ratings.

2. How global buyers select their retailers

Free or fast delivery is a must for most customers, coupled with product pricing. The availability of detailed information and tracking are also important. There are, however, major differences in acceptance of delivery times. The most demanding countries — Turkey and Korea — expect their shipments within four days, U.S. consumers expect their (free) shipments within six days and Russians are satisfied with shipments arriving in 12 days.

3. What consumers are buying

Specialty products not available in the consumer’s home country are the main drivers for cross-border shopping, followed by lower prices. The most popular product categories are fashion, consumer electronics and media products, as well as food and drinks. Clothes rule e-commerce sales in China and Germany, while Brazil requests mainly consumer electronics. In Turkey, groceries are ordered the most.

4. How consumers are buying

Once consumers have selected a retailer, they place their orders via computer primarily using credit cards, followed by online payment systems such as PayPal. Not surprisingly, mobile devices follow the PC as the most common tool for ordering products. Interestingly, m-commerce—purchase by smartphone—is most common in Australia, China and Korea, where 15 percent of all orders are placed via mobile devices. Globally, 30 percent of consumers use online stores like Amazon or eBay.

5. Top countries participating in e-commerce

Europeans prefer purchasing from Denmark, the U.K. and the U.S., while China and the United States are both popular purchase points for countries in the Americas. In fact, selling activities differ widely by country. For example, consumers in the U.K., China and Germany buy more frequently, whereas the average Mexican, Russian and Brazilian shoppers place only roughly six orders per year. To drill down even further, European consumers place more orders per year (29 in the U.K., 18 in Germany) than their counterparts in emerging markets (e.g., six in Brazil, five in Mexico).

With 86 percent of respondents already participating in online shopping and 30 percent planning to shop online more often, the future points to huge growth potential in e-commerce. This is especially true for emerging markets, as consumers say they intend to shop less from brick-and-mortar retailers in the future.

For an overview of the top things to know about global e-commerce, check out the Top 5 Delivered video above. To watch more Top 5 Delivered videos, click here.

Have more questions about global e-commerce? Send us what you’d like to know @DHLUS.

2 thoughts on “Video: The Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Global E-commerce

  1. I submit all the shipping internationally for DHL. Your website is getting a lot better as far as paperwork and ease of entering information at DHL-USA.com.is concerned ( compared to the past )

    Commodity codes are sometimes confusing. One country has a specific commodity code different from other countries, even though the items that I am shipping are the same. We ship Manufacturing Parts. Our international customers require different forms, etc depending on the country being shipped to. Also the countries require so much information to be listed on their invoices. It is really time consuming…

    1. We know that HTS codes varying for different countries for same item is a common pain point for shippers. Currently, our Trade Automation Service (TAS) can provide searches for proper codes based on key words and also provides a library of documents that may be required for the shipments. In addition, to address your comment about shipping the same items but having different codes, please note that Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes exist on a country specific basis. The same item needs different codes for each destination, potentially.

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