Once you’ve been selling online for a while, it’s understandable to perhaps think that selling cross-border is much the same as selling domestically – only with a little customs paperwork and some added shipping expenses attached.
The truth is a touch more complicated than that – yet that doesn’t mean that scaling up needs to feel intimidating.
Plan to broaden your horizons and sell your products internationally – backed by the logistics and fulfilment services of Huboo? OnBuy.com, a rapidly growing online marketplace, shares the need-to-know.
While it’s true that eCommerce has grown rapidly in the western hemisphere over the last few decades – especially the decade we’ve just begun – there are layers of nuance that it’s good to understand when you’re planning to grow your online business.
OnBuy was created in the UK in late 2016 and having grown over 600% year-on-year for the past three years, we like to think we’ve got a good handle on how the UK eCommerce market works!
With Statista forecasting that British eCommerce will be worth over £76 billion ($103 billion) during 2021, the UK is definitely a territory where confidence in shopping online is strong, especially for fashion, which is forecast as seeing a £24 billion ($34 billion) consumer spend during this year.
As you might imagine, looking to Europe makes things that much more complex, and underlines one area of importance – ensuring your eCommerce growth strategy is culturally prepared for new countries, as much as it is logistically prepared.
Yet while the UK remains the biggest European market for eCommerce, France, Germany and Spain are also hotbeds of activity too, whilst The Netherlands is a major fulfilment hub and is an excellent link across Europe, making it a great choice of base. However, this is all just one piece of a very diverse puzzle.
With a predicted £67 billion ($95 billion) eCommerce revenue for 2021 forecast in Germany, backed up by a forecasted £41.7 billion ($58.9 billion) spend in France and £16 billion ($23 billion) spend in Spain, there’s a good mix of heavy-hitters and up-and-comers across the continent.
And the European niche markets you might want to keep an eye on? Look to Scandinavia – Norway and Denmark offer superb opportunities for growth, as does Sweden, although the Swedish market is already pretty crowded.
Crossing the Atlantic, US eCommerce sales are continuing to grow massively, up 39% in Q1 2021 alone to £139 billion ($196.66 billion). One in five US dollars spent in America’s entire retail sector was spent online in this timeframe.
That growth is exciting – yet also indicative of tremendous potential. Remember, it’s not only the fact that there are huge opportunities for eCommerce to grow in the USA, alongside Canada and South America – it’s also that buyer behaviour and the overall retail landscape is changing in the west.
Think about not just omnichannel retail and the dissolving lines between physical and digital retail, but also the fact that people are buying different products online than they used to – food and sundries as much as luxuries and entertainment.
As the world’s largest continent, Asia offers more markets to move into, and more people to sell your products to, than anywhere on Earth. As you can appreciate, that makes understanding this region complex – yet attainable, with the right approach.
Often, it’s China’s eCommerce market that grabs the headlines, and with good reason. The nation’s dizzying eCommerce figures aren’t just inspired by the enormity of China’s landscape and population. Indeed, it’s as much to do with economics and Chinese eCommerce innovation – all of which means that over 50% of all online retail transactions in the world take place in China.
With these online sales having grown a staggering 44% over the last five years, China’s eCommerce growth has businesses from all corners of the world salivating at the potential.
Yet what’s key here is that cultural eCommerce events, like Singles Day in November each year, are also boosted by China’s love of live streaming eCommerce, social eCommerce and the like.
It may feel like the West is playing catch-up here, yet there’s still everything to play for. Furthermore, China’s eCommerce giants have their eyes on the prize in terms of expansion themselves, eyeing the enormous potential of the eCommerce industry of wider Asia.
Strike while the iron’s hot yourself, and you can join this growth drive too. As huge mergers redefine the tech and eCommerce space in this territory, countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and The Philippines are reaching a point of technological and consumer confidence in eCommerce that makes for massively fertile ground to grow.
Indonesia especially is growing faster in eCommerce than Western markets like the USA or France. Altogether, Southeast Asian eCommerce will surpass £37.5 billion ($53 billion) in market value by the year 2023 – a neat coincidence with when OnBuy expects to be active around the world!
Mobile eCommerce is tipped to lead the charge here, so smart sellers are advised to optimise their product listings accordingly. Yet with so much activity honed on China and Southeast Asia, don’t forget to tap into the region’s technologically advanced and well-established economies, like Japan and South Korea.
Japan’s cultural preference towards physical retailers is being more than challenged by the events of the 2020s, with heavy investments in eCommerce rewiring how the population shops. Even by the end of this year, only 11% of all retail sales in Japan will be made online – meaning huge scope for growth as buyer preferences change going forward.
However, Asian regions such as the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East are also well worth keeping on your radar when growing your eCommerce business globally.
In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), eCommerce has blossomed from a £3.5 billion ($5 billion) market value in 2015 to boast £16.9 billion ($24 billion) revenues today, a Kearney Middle East report details. Yet with less than 10% of households in the Gulf region buying products online, even this growth is just the tip of the iceberg – a huge opportunity is ripe for the taking here, and a smart seller has the chance to pioneer as it happens.
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We’re very excited to announce our partnership with the award-winning order fulfilment provider, Huboo. Huboo helps eCommerce companies grow by taking care of their customers’ fulfilment and operational needs across the UK and Europe, allowing them to focus on what really matters to them. Huboo recently secured a £60m Series B funding round after a […]
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