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The world is my mall

News, 21 January 2016

GLOBAL: More than half of online shoppers around the world have bought an item from a retailer outside their own country, according to a new survey which also highlights a shift towards mobile shopping and digital payments.

The Global Connected Commerce Survey, carried out by researcher Nielsen, polled 13,000 respondents in 26 countries to determine how and why consumers are approaching e-commerce.

It found that 57% of respondents had purchased from an overseas e-tailer in the preceding six months.

Mobile innovations are fuelling this trend, the report said, and these innovations vary by geography – from faster loading retail apps in India to digital wallet-identification cards in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mobile devices have been critical to e-commerce growth, bringing many new and underserved customers online in developing markets such as India where some e-tailers have opted to go mobile-only.

And developed markets are also seeing a shift to mobile: these devices accounted for 57% of all online shopping traffic in the US on Black Friday last year.

"A coherent mobile strategy should be a key innovation pillar for retailers," said Patrick Dodd, Nielsen President of Global Retail.

Globally, credit cards were the most popular payment option for online shoppers, with more than half (53%) using this method, with 43% favouring an escrow system such as PayPal.

But the use of digital payment systems is growing, especially in China where 86% of respondents had paid for some online purchases using these. And in western Europe, digital payments (56%) were preferred to credit cards.

Many countries, however, prefer to stick with cash on delivery (COD). The highest incidence of COD usage was seen in India (83%), followed by Nigeria (76%), the Philippines (73%) and Russia (70%).

Choice is another factor in the growth of cross-border shopping, especially in developing markets with a growing middle class.

"These consumers are looking overseas to purchase authentic foreign brands, often at lower prices than they can find in their home country," Dodd explained.

The flip side is that consumers in developed markets "gain access to a range of goods directly from foreign companies at often significant discounts to what they would pay domestically".

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff