News Feature | February 7, 2014

International E-Commerce Poised To Reach $50 Billion By 2020

Source: Retail Solutions Online
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By Anna Rose Welch, Director, Cell & Gene Collaborative
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New research highlights the opportunities awaiting U.S. online retailers overseas

International e-commerce is expected to increase significantly over the next six years, OC&C Strategy Consultants announced with the release of its new report, “The Global Retail e-mpire.” According to the report, international sales from U.S. online retailers will see a big jump from $11 billion in 2014 to roughly $50 billion by 2020. Should international sales hit $50 billion in 2020, they would account for 16 percent of the overall U.S. online retail market. In 2014, sales abroad are only expected to account for 7 percent of total U.S. retail sales volume, meaning if all goes as predicted, this percentage will more than double by 2020.

OC&C Strategy Consultants and Google collaborated to create the report in order to provide insights into the international scene, which could be a prime source of revenue for retailers looking to their expand e-commerce businesses. The research shows that consumers abroad are readily choosing U.S retailers when making entertainment, electronics, fashion, and general merchandise purchases. A majority of searches for U.S. retailers occurred in Brazil, followed by Australia, Mexico, and Italy.

Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that prominent online retailers Amazon and eBay have already garnered a large customer base overseas; they report that more than 50 percent of their sales are coming from customers abroad. But overseas success is certainly not limited to the online goliaths. As Rambaut Fairley from OC&C Strategy Consultants says, “For the first time our research reveals that smaller U.S. online pure play retailers, such as Etsy and Snapfish, are demonstrating rapid international growth; Etsy has now reached the Top 10 most sought out U.S. retailers based on international searches.”  

Plan to ship internationally? Read this first.

The online marketplace Etsy has been working on global expansion for a while now. Back in the spring of 2012, the company raised upwards of $92 million, the majority of which it planned to use to “grow Etsy into an economic force all around the world,” and provide more assistance and services for Etsy sellers, CEO Chad Dickerson said. At that point, the company had already begun its international expansion process by launching in Germany and France, Tech Crunch reported.

In addition to Etsy, OC&C’s latest research shows that nearly 40 percent of U.S. e-commerce brands report providing goods and services to more than 50 countries. Another 40 percent have even begun to redesign their websites to better target Spanish-speaking and other international customers. In fact, Etsy is one of the latest retailers to do so, Kwintessential reports. In November, the company introduced automated translations of their product listings so that Italian, Spanish, French, and German speaking customers could view product listings in their primary language. By doing so, the retailer will perhaps see more sales success overseas, as international consumers more comfortable with their local language are better able to find the goods they’re looking for.

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