Cross-border e-commerce sales are growing explosively

According to the Visa Global Merchant E-commerce Study, global e-commerce leaders consider international expansion and the search for new cross-border customers to be essential to stimulate growth, especially as the holiday season approaches.

The vast majority of e-commerce leaders surveyed (87%) believe that international expansion is one of the greatest opportunities for their company’s growth in the coming years.

Today, two out of three companies (66%) that sell online are already selling abroad. These sales represent nearly one-third (31%) of these companies’ revenues. Even with significant revenues from cross-border sales, more than half (51%) of companies that already sell to international customers need help to optimize their international online sales.

Christmas and New Year’s holidays translate into more sales worldwide

Given that the holiday season represents more than a quarter of the annual revenues of the vast majority of companies surveyed (86%), this peak period is crucial for online merchants around the world. The Visa GME study also found that e-commerce leaders remain optimistic about entering new markets during this key period.

Specifically for the 2019 holiday season, more than half (52%) of e-commerce leaders surveyed believe that increased competition is the greatest risk. Other world events are also a factor; trade policy is most often cited by US (34%) and Chinese (54%) leaders, while uncertainty in Europe worries a clear majority (64%) of British leaders.

The comprehensive study, to be published in January 2020, examines traders’ attitudes, behaviours and perceptions of cross-border e-commerce in 10 global markets.

Main conclusions :

Seamless experience: Whether buying goods locally or abroad, customers want a similar experience. The most important factors are: fast delivery (44%), ease of payment (41%) and convenient payment methods (41%).
New markets: Two out of three companies (66%) that do not sell cross-border products plan to do so in the near future, and 90% of them plan to do so in the next three years.

International expansion can be a major challenge. The vast majority of those who have not yet experienced international expansion (87%) have not even made attempts to do so. The main challenges cited are the acceptance and processing of foreign transactions (37%) and shipping issues (42%).