Infograph: Cross-border e-commerce sales poised for explosive growth

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Online businesses see a world of opportunity for cross-border e-commerce sales and executives are ready to take action. According to The Visa Global Merchant E-commerce Study,  e-commerce leaders globally view international expansion and finding new cross-border customers as critical to driving growth, particularly heading into the prime holiday shopping period.

A vast majority of all e-commerce leaders surveyed (87%) believe expanding cross-border is one of their company’s biggest growth opportunities in the years ahead.

Today, two in three businesses (66%) that sell online are already selling cross-border. These sales account for nearly a third (31%) of those business’ revenue. Even with the significant revenue from cross-border sales, more than half (51%) of companies who already sell to international customers need help to optimise their international online sales.

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End of Year Holidays Mean Sales Worldwide

With the end of the year holiday season accounting for more than a quarter of annual revenues for the vast majority of businesses surveyed (86%), this peak time is critical for e-commerce merchants around the world. The Visa GME Study also revealed e-commerce leaders remain bullish about penetrating new markets to remain competitive during this key period.

Despite the opportunity, some expressed concerns about a range of factors. Looking at the 2019 holiday season specifically, increased competition is considered to be the greatest risk by more than half (52%) of the e-commerce leaders surveyed. Other global events are also a factor; trade policy is cited most frequently by US (34%) and Chinese (54%) leaders, while uncertainty in Europe is a concern for a clear majority (64%) of UK leaders.

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The full study, which will be issued in January 2020, dives into merchant attitudes, behaviours and perceptions of cross-border e-commerce for 10 global markets.

Key findings:

  • Seamless Experience: Whether purchasing goods domestically or internationally, customers want a similar experience. Leaders cite the most important factors as: quick delivery (44%), easy checkout (41%) and convenient payment methods (41%).
  • New Markets: Two in three (66%) of businesses that do not sell cross-border plan to do so in the near future, with 90 percent eyeing the next three years.
  • Buckle Up: The international expansion journey can be a daunting venture. A vast majority of those who haven’t expanded internationally (87%) haven’t even made attempts to do so. Top challenges cited are accepting and processing foreign transactions (37%) and shipping issues (42%).