Each edition of this annual paper has tracked fascinating shifts in attitudes towards cross-border ecommerce. The earliest reports in 2013 and 2014 painted a picture of a cross-border online retail market heading skywards, fueled by increased internet penetration worldwide and surging mobile connectivity. 2015 was the year that China’s place at the head of the cross-border ecommerce table was cemented, with the jaw-dropping revenue generated on that year’s Singles Day alerting the entire planet to the full potential of the Chinese ecommerce market. From year to year, our survey respondents spoke with consistent optimism about selling cross-border.
Yet last year, for the first time, we saw cross-border growth flatten. The unexpected slowing of the Chinese economy and a general sense of uncertainty regarding the geopolitical situation triggered a greater reluctance, particularly amongst merchants in the west, to sell internationally. This was reflected in our survey results where, for the first time, we saw a drop in the number of respondents who believed cross-border ecommerce had proven profitable.
So where are we today?
The cross-border ecommerce landscape does not fail to keep us, the ecommerce players, busy with an ongoing product and process development. Acting as a link between buyers and sellers, online marketplaces have created an incomparable level of security and usability for the involved parties that better support merchants in their international expansion. We are well-equipped to take away the regulatory complexity and enable the marketplace to focus on growing their business further, across many regions and reach new consumers.
Well, we’re happy to say that this year, merchants’ confidence is back with a bang. The global stats presented in this paper paint a compelling picture of a cross-border ecommerce market that is growing healthily across the globe, with better infrastructure, wider internet penetration and less complexity for merchants and consumers. Our respondents report seeing their cross-border operations develop over the last 12 months, and, throughout the survey, we see merchants in bullish mood about the future. Driving all of this is the unstoppable growth of online marketplaces and the increasing influence of consumer technology, both of which have stripped away many of the complications and removed many of the barriers that had previously stood in the way.
Yet there are areas of concern too. Our respondents report a somewhat trepidatious view of how the West’s political outlook might affect their business, while new, much-needed EU legislation that will better protect consumers could negatively impact merchants who fail to properly prepare. Plus, while consumer technology is making the buyer more accessible to the merchant, it is also making the buyer more demanding, with a greater expectation for personalized shopping experiences and flawless logistics.
This is cross-border ecommerce in 2017: expanding, exciting and filled with rich opportunities for the ambitious merchant.
In a nutshell, Payvision’s 2017 report reveals that online marketplaces and consumer technology lead the way for cross-border ecommerce growth. The report brings together in-depth primary and secondary research into the global online retail market to take the pulse of the sector and offer actionable data for anybody involved in international ecommerce.
Our global survey was conducted in collaboration with Juniper Research. We reached out to merchants, merchant service providers, acquirers, payment service providers and consultants across the world, who gave us their expert insight into how the market was shaping up. By collecting this data and comparing it with the data accrued over the last four annual surveys, we can pinpoint the trends and shifts that are driving the market and predict how they will continue to influence ecommerce going forward. We back this up with in-depth regional research taken from numerous authoritative sources to draw a detailed map of the online retail market worldwide.
It may be a good idea to refresh your memory with the 2016 report and contemplate on the market developments since then Key Business Drivers and Opportunities in Cross-border Ecommerce 2016.