“Clothing/apparel, footwear and accessories” is the No. 1 cross-border category for online shopping. A global study titled PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2018, conducted by Ipsos for Paypal, has revealed that 68 percent of online cross-border shoppers among those surveyed for the study purchased items in that category from e-commerce sites in other countries.

The other categories that scored more than 50 percent include “Consumer electronics, computers/tablets/mobiles & peripherals” and “Toys and hobbies,” both at 53 percent, followed by “Jewelry/watches” at 51 percent. The study was conducted in 2018 across 31 markets and with around 34,000 consumers globally. Researchers looked at three main areas: 1) how online commerce, and specifically cross-border commerce, is evolving; 2) why and how shoppers buy online domestically and across borders; and 3) how shoppers pay for domestic as well as cross-border transactions.

The majority of cross-border purchases are still made on a computer desktop/laptop/notebook, according to the study. Shoppers from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region are most likely to use other devices. Better prices are the main driver of cross-border shopping, chosen by 73 percent of respondents, followed by the access to products that are not available domestically (49 percent) and the possibility of discovering new and interesting products (34 percent).

The choice of the method of payment for cross-border shopping is largely determined by security and convenience. The security and convenience of the payment method were mentioned by 44 percent of the surveyed, although security and trusted payment emerged as more common drivers for those purchasing cross-border in Africa as compared to shoppers in Europe, comparatively less likely to mention security concerns. Three in four said they would prefer to have an option to pay in local currency. As for the main deterrents to online cross-border shopping, delivery shipping costs (25 percent) emerged as the No. 1 barrier, followed closely by delivery time, the risk of not receiving the item at all, and having to pay taxes and/or custom duties, all at 24 percent.

By region, consumers in the Middle East are more likely to shop cross-border than other consumers (56 percent of those surveyed). The U.S. and China are the biggest markets in terms of online spend in general, but the countries where shopping online across borders is most prevalent are Ireland, Austria and Israel. In contrast, large numbers of shoppers in some countries still show a marked preference for domestic websites when buying online. In Japan, 94 percent of the respondents said they only shop on domestic sites when buying items online. Online shoppers from Germany (68 percent), the U.S. (66 percent) and the U.K. (62 percent) also show a preference for shopping on domestic websites only. China and the U.S. are the most popular cross-border destinations for online shoppers, with 26 percent and 21 percent of online shoppers, respectively.

On behalf of PayPal, Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of about 1000-2000 (34,052 in total) adults (aged 18 or over) who use an internet enabled device in each of 31 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, India, China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines. The interviews were conducted online between March 13 and May 1, 2018.