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Retail Intelligence: Cross-border shopping boosted by online retail

July 29, 2014
Written By

A new study from Nielsen has found that cross-border shopping has been boosted in recent years by online retail availability. The report predicts that cross-border online shopping will record a combined total of $105 billion this year, growing to $307 billion by 2018, as more consumers shop online internationally to find the best prices.

The Modern Spice Routes study, commissioned by PayPal, predicts that cross-border online shopping will be worth $105 billion this year, with 94 million consumers regularly buying from overseas websites. By 2018, this will grow nearly 200% to $307 billion, with 130 million cross-border online shoppers.

The report reveals that the biggest reasons for shopping at international websites were driven by price and the unavailability of specific products locally. The top categories for consumers to shop internationally online were found to be clothes and accessories ($12.5billion), health and beauty ($7.6 billion), personal electronics ($6 billion) and computer hardware ($6 billion).

Amongst those surveyed, the US is the most popular overseas market to buy from (45%), followed by the UK (37%), mainland China (26%), Hong Kong (25%), Canada (18%), Australia (16%) and Germany (14%).

Commenting on the findings, David Marcus, President of PayPal said: “The emergence of these ‘modern spice routes’ is great news for businesses the world over. If you are looking for new ways to grow your sales, especially in an economic downturn, start selling directly to 94 million cross-border shoppers in these six markets and own a piece of this $105 billion market.”

The study identifies a number of cross-border shopping tribes, including ‘Value Voyagers’ who check and compare overseas purchases to ensure they find the best quality and good value products, and ‘Deal Hunters’ who if they spot a lower price on an overseas website, will buy.

This study demonstrates that it’s more important than ever for retailers to be competitive on price, not just locally but globally. Ensuring you offer the best value prices is critical for retailers to attract today’s cross-border shopper, no longer restricted by physical or geographical borders as they seek out the best prices.

Discover how Profitero works with retailers to provide visibility and transparency into the prices, product assortment and promotions of millions of products across thousands of global retailers every day. To ensure you remain competitive to today’s cross-border shopper, email us at and find out how we can help you own a piece of this $105 billion market.

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About Profitero

Pricing intelligence company Profitero provides retailers with actionable price intelligence data, monitoring over 50 million products across 4,000 eCommerce retailers every day, observing pricing, promotions and stock availability. We work with the world’s leading retailers, enabling them to acquire new customers and grow profit margins by monitoring and responding to changes in competitor pricing and promotional activity as they happen. For more information on Profitero price intelligence and competitor monitoring, visit or email

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