Mobile May Help Top eCommerce Markets Double To $985B By 2018

A new study released by PayPal, Google and OC&C Strategy Consultants found that the world’s largest eCommerce markets — the U.K., U.S., China and Germany — can expect to double in size by 2018.

The search and transactions data and online shopping habits of consumers within the four countries was analyzed to predict the scale of these major online markets rising to £645 billion ($992 million), thereby adding a total of £320 billion to the eCommerce economy, Forbes reported Monday (June 8).

The study emphasized the importance of mobile growth and use in determining how and when global consumers spend.

Martijn Bertisen, sales director at Google U.K. said: “The number of people with Internet access is growing fast, with many new consumers skipping the desktop phase entirely and only experiencing the Web through a smartphone. Our study shows that this is increasingly translating into mobile transactions and that a mobile-first or even mobile-only strategy is now imperative to international success in retail.”

The “Cracking the World’s Largest eCommerce Markets” report projected a huge earning potential for U.K. online retailers due to Britain being identified as the most prevalent online overseas destination for German shoppers, and the second-most popular for shoppers in China and the U.S.

“When shopping online for British goods, Chinese and German shoppers spend more than domestic shoppers, spending on average 2.7 and 1.7 times as much in each transaction,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “Chinese shoppers purchase from U.K. retailers online almost as frequently as domestic shoppers, according to the study. People are motivated to shop online internationally to get unique products they can’t find in their own country, followed by better prices and an assurance of quality,” they added.

But if U.K. retailers want to hold on to their top spot over the next three years, some changes may need to be made to the way they do business for global shoppers.

“The study has shown that U.K. retailers are some of the world’s most popular and are in a strong position to seize more opportunities abroad,” OC&C Strategy Consultants partner and head of U.K. retail Anita Balchandani told Forbes. “But at the moment, the majority are only doing the basics to adequately serve foreign markets, for example, by offering international delivery on their U.K. website and working with partners to provide local returns addresses.”

Balchandani commended online U.K. retailer ASOS for successfully serving its foreign customers by adopting zonal pricing and investing in local warehouses to support returns. Understanding the needs of eCommerce customers has helped the company to experience unprecedented growth.

The research also highlights the biggest challenges facing global online retailers and the significance of understanding consumer concerns. Data security, ease of returners and having trust in an eRetailer are of the upmost importance to online overseas shoppers, the study said.

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The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.

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