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Cross-border sales still not popular in Europe

The European Union desperately wants to create a single market, but chances are this won’t happen soon. It doesn’t matter if it’s their neighboring country or the United States, many European consumers are still hesitant to shop online from retailers outside their own countries. This year cross-border sales will only account for 10.6% of Europe’s web sales.

Although 43% of adults in the European Union shop online, online sales across borders in Europe will account for just a tenth of total online sales in this region, says a report from Interactive Media in Retail Group. In the same report we’ve read that 2012 online cross-border sales in Europe totaled $34 billion and they will this year grow 38% to reach the $47 billion.

If it’s about cross-border sales, the United Kingdom is the absolute number one. European consumers outside the UK spent $11 billion on British e-commerce sites and it is predicted that this amount will grow 36% to $15 billion. “The UK online retail market has proven to be one of the great success stories over the past decade, recording strong growth each year and being second only to the US market in terms of overall value,” IMRG says.

Cross-border is the future of e-commerce

Andrew McClelland, Chief Operations & Policy Officer at IMRG, thinks that cross-border is the future of e-commerce. “Expanding internationally is a complex business however, and retailers need to carefully identify markets that are appropriate to them rather than just attractive in terms of value and growth. Research is everything when it comes to cross-border.”

We couldn’t agree more. And with us the European Commission also thinks that consumers are more likely to shop across border if the retailers market to them in their own language and with their own preferences. “There are still too many barriers for easy cross-border purchases,” said Neelie Kroes eight months ago. “As many as 60% of attempted cross-border Internet shopping orders fail due to technical or legal reasons, such as the refusal of non-domestic credit cards. As long as we have a market with borders, there can be no true digital single market.”

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