Consumer behaviour awareness paves the way to a merry holiday season for retailers

Online shoppers from across the world have different buying patterns.

Exciting growth opportunities await retailers who are brave enough to venture overseas especially during this holiday season. In Asia, China-based shoppers have proven to be the biggest spenders during seasonal sales, followed by shoppers in India, Hong Kong, and Japan, according to PayPal's 2021 Borderless Commerce Report.

As cross-border online shopping has risen exponentially, more shoppers have appeared and new behaviours have emerged. Because of this, navigating global trade can be tricky, with each consumer market having different needs and behaviours. Understanding local nuances is, therefore, the key to a successful cross-border strategy. PayPal’s report provides sophisticated insights for merchants looking to expand into various global markets. 

Retailers targeting the tech-smart Chinese market must be open to new ways of introducing customers to their products, such as by using augmented reality and virtual reality. Shoppers in China also demand reliable shipping methods, as well as secure and seamless payment methods.

In Hong Kong, consumers search cross-border for higher quality goods and products that they cannot find close to home. Sales events around traditional holidays like Chinese New Year and Christmas also have a strong appeal. Even during the pandemic, these price-conscious shoppers have not held back when it comes to seasonal sales.

While in India, over 40% of cross-border online shoppers prioritise high product quality. One way to attract these shoppers is by promoting premium brands, and showcasing superior materials, manufacturing, or artisanal processes, both on-site and in marketing campaigns. 

However, international merchants must be upfront about their location. Though consumers are looking at quality, authenticity, shipping costs, speed of delivery, and safe payment methods, shoppers remain cautious when buying from other countries.

Historically, in Japan, international shopping previously accounted for just 10% of e-commerce transactions in the country, which indicated a strong preference for domestic brands. But this behaviour has recently changed as more online shoppers look for unique items not available domestically, with 44% of Japanese online consumers looking to cross-border merchants for better prices. In light of this change, overseas merchants are now better positioned to attract Japanese shoppers with lower prices, an assortment of products not available locally, or a “domestic equivalent” shopping experience. Cross-border merchants should also take advantage of Japan’s strong cultural tradition of gift-giving during the holiday season. 

Cross-border shopping extends beyond the holiday season, and sellers who want to diversify their business model and maximise their business opportunities will do well by riding this growth curve. A more in-depth look at various consumer behaviours is available in PayPal's 2021 Borderless Commerce Report.

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