The sixth annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study has found that nearly half of U.S. online shoppers bought items from international retailers.
According to a press release, the study’s findings show the need for retailers to offer more personalized services as a way to compete against lower prices.
With almost all avid U.S. online shoppers (97 percent) making purchases on marketplaces, up 12 points from 2016, 81 percent cited price as the most important factor when searching for and selecting products online. And for respondents who purchased from an international online retailer (47 percent), 43 percent made the decision because of lower prices on U.S. marketplaces, while 36 percent wanted unique products not found from U.S. retailers.
According to eMarketer, global cross-border eCommerce is projected to grow at an average of 22 percent from 2015 to 2020, compared to 15 percent for U.S. eCommerce during the same time period.
“The lines that separate domestic and international retailers continue to disappear,” said Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer for UPS. “Retailers are now competing across the globe. In order to win, retailers can distinguish themselves by providing value through personalized experiences.”
Smartphones are an increasingly important part of the shopping experience online and in physical stores. Eight in 10 online shoppers use retailer apps, often preferring apps to websites because of faster speed and a better user experience.
“Online shoppers are able to shop the world’s boutiques and bazaars with ease,” said Gershenhorn. “We’re witnessing a glimpse of the future, when retailers and their customers will be defined less by geographic location and more by how they connect with each other. The challenge is to best provide shoppers with the choice, control and convenience they desire.”
In terms of logistics, the top considerations that online shoppers make when purchasing from international retailers include clearly stating the total cost of the order, including duties and fees (77 percent), stating all prices in the shopper’s native currency (76 percent), the retailer being reputable (74 percent) and reasonable speed of shipping/delivery (66 percent).
The majority of the online retailers U.S. consumers are buying from and receiving shipments from are based in China (61 percent), the U.K. (23 percent), Canada (15 percent) and Japan (14 percent).