Mobile reaches a tipping point as shoppers drive global e-commerce

This holiday season, merchants should take advantage of consumers’ mobile-first approach to shopping.

Online shopping has established itself as a reliable channel of purchasing in the past decade, skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. According to PayPal’s 2021 Borderless Commerce Report, supply shortages and concerns about in-person shopping caused by the pandemic forced consumers to try different brands, new methods of shopping, and new sources beyond borders. This provided merchants with the opportunity to reach consumers from international markets.

In less than two years, the shift to e-commerce has become second nature as shoppers become more comfortable in the online environment. This showed in the higher online spending recorded across categories such as groceries, apparel, beauty products, and, surprisingly, automotive.  

Shoppers are also now more willing to try digital payment approaches, with digital wallets on the rise especially amongst cross-border shoppers. In India, despite the inconsistent mobile internet connections, digital wallets have been quickly replacing cash as a popular payment method. Merchants who wish to penetrate the Indian market must ensure that their sites are fast-loading and seamless. Digital wallets in Hong Kong are also gaining traction, becoming the second most popular way to pay after credit cards because of the convenience and security they offer. 

With shopping options expanding, smartphones are becoming the primary access point for global shopping as it is now easier for buyers and merchants to transact on a mobile screen. In Singapore, 83% of online consumers shop via mobile phone and is clearly the preferred choice. The ability to purchase online using smartphones has truly turned it into a hand-held shopping mall, making mobile optimisation a priority for businesses.

Furthermore, the use of social media as a shopping channel has also increased especially in Asia. The most popular social media avenues for Singaporean shoppers are Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp; whilst in China, social media platforms are introducing new ways for merchants to offer their products, such as through live streaming, which digitally brings to life the shopping experience. 

The 2021 holiday season is fast approaching—and with it, the world’s biggest annual shopping spree. This period of increased consumer spending is the perfect time for cross-border merchants to offer unique gift items and compelling alternatives to domestic options.

This season, however, is also the period when most purchases are time-sensitive. Clear communication on fulfillment expectations and responsive customer service can make all the difference.

Moving forward, e-commerce is expected to accelerate on all fronts: general adoption, mobile usage, intent to spend, cross-border sales, omnichannel, social shopping, and infrastructure. Sellers who want to diversify and grow further would be wise to take advantage of these trends. Find out more data-driven insights in PayPal’s 2021 Borderless Commerce Report. Download it HERE for free.