International online sales transacted through the leading cross-border e-commerce technology and services provider, eShopWorld (ESW), rose by 82% year-on-year (YOY) across 2020, showcasing the extent of the trading opportunity available to globally optimised retailers and brands.
Sales data, released by ESW, tracks 2020’s turbulent path as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold across the world. Strong pre-pandemic growth of cross-border sales growth slowed in March, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated, creating uncertainty that undermined consumer confidence. However, this initial ebb was short-lived.
Cross-border ecommerce sales went on to rebound rapidly from April 2020, rising to unprecedented levels as consumers digital demands soared, driven by global lockdown orders, and retailers’ digital transformation rapidly accelerated to accommodate online international trading capabilities to keep up with demand.
As retailers found sources of growth in multiple international markets, ESW data recorded accelerated global sales growth, in excess of 100% from April onwards and peaking at 141% in July – driven by brands’ efforts to generate demand throughout the summer months and into the Golden Quarter.
The impetus behind these record figures is revealed in original research of more than 22,000 consumers across eleven countries, commissioned by ESW, which found that more than half (52%) of respondents said they had made six or more cross-border purchases in the past year. The top reasons cited for purchasing internationally were lower cost – including duties, taxes and shipping – (36%) and availability of products that couldn’t be found in the shopper’s own region (35%).
ESW’s sales data reveals the top 10 fastest growing markets for brands and retailers using its technology and services to sell internationally, with the Philippines (+258%), Morocco (+215%), Chile (+211%), Puerto Rico (+203%) and Egypt (+196%) recording the top five highest increases.
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Tommy Kelly, CEO of ESW, commented: “2020 saw historic growth in year-on-year cross-border e-commerce sales and reinforced the role of international e-commerce as the jewel in retail’s crown, enabling businesses to meet customer demand at its point of origin while mitigating against fluctuations in their local market. Both our sales figures and research show that to succeed retailers must have a deep understanding of global markets that allow them to offer a localised, customer-centric and cost competitive shopping experience if they wish to maintain both the loyalty of existing customers and attract new ones.”
“For those retailers and brands that have not already done so, prioritising investment into the development of a best-in-class global ecommerce offering is critical to allow them to harness fluctuating, and profitable, global consumer demand.”
Brands partnering with ESW can enter new international markets in as few as six weeks, up to six times faster than if they attempted to do so on their own – all while engaging directly with customers and retaining ownership of all the data collected during the shopping process.