PayPal 2nd Annual Global Report Shows More Than 1/3 of Chinese Online Shoppers Now Buying Cross-Border

New global research from PayPal reveals US and Japanese consumers
least likely to shop from non-domestic merchants, while Ireland, Austria
and Israel most likely

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today PayPal and Ipsos* released
their second global cross-border commerce report. The research, which
investigated the online and cross-border shopping habits of more than
23,200 consumers in 29 countries, reveals new opportunities for
merchants to expand their international sales.

China Sees Big Jump in Global Buying

Amidst a year of market-moving news coming out of China, no shortage of
attention has been paid to its growing consumer class’ buying power as
more enter the global online ecommerce market. This year’s findings
support the growth trend: 35 percent of online shoppers claim to have
shopped cross-border in 2015, vs. 26 percent in 2014.

China’s overall online shopping population saw modest growth (81 percent
of online adults report having shopped online in the last 12 months in
2015, vs. 80 percent in 2014)

The US is Hot on Exports, Cool on Imports

As with last
year’s findings
, “made in the USA” continues to carry sway around
the world. A full 25 percent of online shoppers surveyed across 29
countries1 report purchasing from US-based websites in the
last 12 months. The next most popular countries are China (19 percent of
online shoppers have purchased from Chinese sites) and the UK (14

However, American shoppers infrequently shop beyond their own borders.
While among all respondents surveyed around the world, 50 percent of
online shoppers report making purchases from a website in another
country in the last 12 months, only 22 percent of American online
shoppers have done so. Of the 29 countries surveyed only Japan has a
lower volume of cross-border shoppers, at 12 percent.

Ireland, Austria and Israel are the most active cross-border shoppers
with 86 percent, 85 percent and 79 percent respectively of online
shoppers having made a cross-border purchase in the past 12 months.

Nigeria, China and UAE are Mobile-Savvy

Among all consumers surveyed around the world, 16 percent of their
online spend was made via smartphone. Nigerians nearly triple this: on
average, those online shoppers estimate that 37.8 percent of their
online spend in the last 12 months was conducted via smartphone,
followed by China (34 percent) and UAE (31 percent).

The opportunity for mobile spending growth is highest in France, The
Netherlands and Argentina: on average, those online shoppers
respectively estimate that 7 percent, 7 percent and 9 percent of their
online spend is made via smartphone.

“By identifying the purchasing habits of global consumers, our research
allows businesses to harness new trade opportunities around the world,”
said Melissa O’Malley, director, global merchant and cross-border trade
initiatives at PayPal. ”In addition to business insights, we are also
actively providing our merchants with free tools and resources such as
our comprehensive eBooks, ‘How
to Sell Internationally
‘ and ‘Selling
Into China
‘ as well as PayPal
to help them gain more business overseas.”

Smart SMBs Invest in SEO

When it comes to sourcing international products, SEO has a big
influence. When asked how they find international websites, cross-border
shoppers cited the following methods:

  • I go directly to websites I have used in the past (58 percent of all
    surveyed cross-border shoppers)
  • I go directly to websites I know the web address for (40 percent)
  • When I search for particular brands or products on a search engine,
    sometimes this leads me to foreign sites (38 percent)
  • I go to sites recommended by friends/family (36 percent)
  • I follow links from shopping comparison sites (25 percent)

Cross-border Shoppers Consider Cost

The cost of international goods is a consideration that both motivates
and deters global purchases in 2015.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of all cross-border shoppers surveyed
cite better prices as the reason to make purchases cross-border rather
than domestically, followed by notions of access to items not available
in their own country (selected by 67 percent of cross-border shoppers)
and discovering new and interesting products (58 percent).

As with last year, shipping cost is of paramount importance to
cross-border shoppers. Almost half (47 percent) of online shoppers say
that delivery costs deter them from making international purchases (or
making them more often). At the same time half of all online shoppers
say that free shipping would make them more likely to buy from a website
in another country.

Shipping cost is the top reason for abandoning an online purchase from a
website in another country, cited by 43 percent of online shoppers who
have abandoned a cross-border purchase.

Forty percent of cross-border shoppers surveyed reported using a
forwarding address (getting purchases delivered to a friend’s or family
member’s address in the country of purchase) or freight forwarding
(getting purchases delivered to a freight forwarding company in the
country of purchase, who then ship items to the buyer) when making
cross-border purchases. When asked why, 45 percent of those who used
freight forwarding or forwarding addresses say they do this because it’s
cheaper than the store’s international delivery.

Putting this Information into Practice

In addition to these global findings, more focused data is available for
all 29 countries included in the research. This data can help local
merchants understand their best opportunities for international sales.

“Advancements in technology are helping to give merchants the right
tools to open up commerce opportunities across borders, anytime and via
any device,” continued O’Malley. “With Western holidays approaching, now
is the time to access new markets and sales opportunities.”

On behalf of PayPal, Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample**
of c.800 (23,354 in total) adults (aged 18 or over) who own and/or use
an internet enabled device* in each of 29 countries (UK, Ireland,
France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Netherlands,
Sweden, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Israel, UAE, USA, Canada, Brazil,
Mexico, Argentina, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore,
Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt). Interviews were conducted
online between 17th September and 28th October 2015.
Data was
weighted to known incidence of online shoppers in all countries, and to
demographic profile of internet users in 4 countries (SK, SG, EG & UAE).
computer/Laptop/ notebook computer/Tablet/Smartphone/Some other type of
mobile phone/Electronic organizer/PDA with wireless voice and data
features/Games console with Internet connectivity (e.g. Wii).
gender and region representative of online population (Age and gender
representative in Switzerland). Quotas were not set for Nigeria, as
online profile not available in this country.
Ipsos is a member of
the MRS, and research was carried out according to MRS code of conduct.

About PayPal

At PayPal (Nasdaq:PYPL), we put people at the center of everything we
do. Founded in 1998, we continue to be at the forefront of the digital
payments revolution. Last year we processed 4 billion payments, of which
1 billion were made on mobile devices. PayPal gives people better ways
to connect to their money and to each other, helping them safely access
and move their money and offering a choice of how they would like to pay
or be paid. With our 173 million active customer accounts, we have
created an open and secure payments ecosystem that people and businesses
choose to securely transact with each other online, in stores and on
mobile devices. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is
available to people in 203 markets, allowing customers to get paid in
more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57
currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.
For more information on PayPal, visit
For PYPL financial information visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a global independent market research company ranking third
worldwide among research firms.

We specialize in six areas: advertising
content and technology research
; loyalty,
quality and customer relationship management research
; opinion
polls and social research
; and survey
management, data collection and delivery
. Our industry
specialization model means we have an intimate understanding of our
clients’ brands, consumers and markets.

1 Combined data for all respondents surveyed, not weighted
for population size


Melissa O’Malley
Ross, 415-593-1400