The International Post Corporation (IPC) has published the results of its cross-border e-commerce shopper survey, which this year includes the consumer expectations and experiences from almost 29,000 respondents in 31 countries across North and South America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Holger Winkelbauer, CEO of IPC, said, “The continued increase of the geographical scope and sample of our cross-border e-commerce shopper survey helps us to gain further insights into the expectations and experiences of consumers shopping online around the globe.
“While the majority of cross-border parcels continue to be delivered by posts, increased competition motivates the sector to respond to market trends. The insights and issues identified in the study have also helped IPC to develop a number of solutions to improve the cross-border delivery experience for both e-retailers and consumers.
“Our aim is to embed postal delivery solutions within the shopping carts of leading global e-retailers, as IPC tools become increasingly important to respond to the market needs identified.”
According to the research, consumers in all markets are embracing e-commerce, particularly consumers in China, India, Korea and the USA. When it comes to origin of the goods purchased, China remains the most popular market for global consumers to shop from, accounting for 34% of most recent cross-border purchases. This is followed by the USA (18%), Germany (12%) and the UK (12%). Purchases from China were highest in Russia (79%), Hungary (60%), Brazil (53%) and the USA (52%).
Based on the 31 markets surveyed, Amazon, eBay and Alibaba/AliExpress accounted for 56% of the most recent cross-border e-commerce items purchased. In Luxembourg and Austria, Amazon accounted for 72% and 64% of all online purchases respectively. In Cyprus, eBay accounted for 63%, whereas in Russia, AliExpress accounted for 69% of all online orders.
Direct mail important for e-commerce
This year, respondents were asked whether they received direct mail from e-tailers in the past year, and to identify these e-tailers. Advertising mail was most used by e-retailers in India (71%), China (67%), Switzerland (65%), Finland (64%) and Germany (63%), and least used by e-retailers from Cyprus, Iceland, Denmark and Australia.
The responses show that advertising mail is very effective with more than half of those who received direct mail (51%) visiting the e-tailer’s website as a result. A significant 44% made an online purchase as a result of this direct mail from the e-tailer.
Furthermore, 19% shared the advertising mail with someone and 14% engaged with the e-tailer via social media after receiving it.
While a laptop (34%) is the most popular device used to shop online, smartphone use increased to 24% in 2017 and was highest in China (53%), India (51%) and the USA (43%).
When buying online cross-border, the vast majority of consumers (93%) want to know the full cost of delivery before purchase and count on being able to benefit from a simple and reliable returns process (90%).
Seventy-four percent of respondents had a parcel delivered to their home in the past year while 26% picked up a parcel from the post office. Delivery to a post office was highest in Russia (76%), while office/workplace delivery was most popular in China (44%) and India (41%).
When looking at parcel tracking options, 27% of consumers stated that tracking was always offered and half said that it was offered most of the time. While all stages of cross-border tracking were deemed important, having the parcel delivered at a specific date and time was considered ‘very important’ by 60% of respondents.
This year’s survey shows that free shipping for cross-border purchases continues to increase: 62% of respondents received free shipping for their most recent cross-border e-commerce purchase. Russian (83%) and Chinese (76%) consumers benefited the most from free shipping.
Seventy percent of shoppers used the post for their most recent cross-border purchase, with Russia (87%) and Brazil (86%) taking the lead. Overall, 85% were satisfied with their delivery experience.
A total of 13% of consumers paid customs duties or customs clearance fees for their most recent cross-border online purchase.
Of the respondents who had to pay for customs, almost half (48%) of them paid it while making the online purchase. Non-European consumers, who are more used to paying customs fees, tended to pay upfront, while European customers, who are familiar with the EU Single Market, tended to pay customs at a later stage.
February 1, 2018