International Purchasing, Shipping and Communication Preferences Vary
With the holidays fast approaching, e-tailers and marketers alike need to start thinking globally with their e-commerce strategy. A recent survey from Pitney Bowes found that while international shoppers share some similar behaviors and traits while shopping online, there are key differences that vary by country — e.g., shipping and communication preferences. Nearly 10,000 adults across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. were polled regarding their online shopping habits and preferences.
There is some common behavior, however. Seventy-one percent of respondents said that a product's price is the most important consideration for purchasing, followed by a wide range of products offered (42 percent), an easy checkout process (35 percent), and low shipping costs and taxes (35 percent).
Meanwhile, there are significant differences in why the surveyed consumers abandon shopping carts online. Sixty-seven percent say it's because of high shipping costs, 47 percent claim its additional fees such as duties and taxes at the time of delivery, while 39 percent cite delivery time.
The survey also revealed what types of products international shoppers are most likely to purchase online. Books, videos and music was the product category most likely to be purchased online by international shoppers (58 percent), followed by computer hardware/software (41 percent) and consumer electronics (38 percent).
Most other consumer preferences vary by country. Consider the folllowing:
- Fifty-nine percent of global consumers indicated they prefer email communications for receiving information on new products, promotions or other similar offers. This trend was most prominent in Brazil, with 72 percent of consumers opting for email.
- Twenty-five percent of respondents said they prefer receiving information on new products, promotions or other similar offers via catalogs and direct mail, led by Australians at 33 percent.
- Only 4 percent of respondents said they prefer to receive product information via text messaging and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Consumers in China (11 percent), Brazil and South Korea (both 5 percent) are most welcoming of receiving information via social media.
- Consumers in South Korea (13 percent), Japan (12 percent) and China (9 percent) are most willing to receive product information via a text message.
- A quick and easy checkout process is most important to consumers in Germany and South Korea (59 percent), but not as important to shoppers in Japan (11 percent).
- The French (37 percent) are more interested in the ability to track an order once it's shipped than the Japanese (5 percent) are.
- Spot-on delivery date estimates are more important to consumers in China and South Korea (both 20 percent) than in Canada (10 percent).
- An easy-to-understand return policy is nearly three times more important to consumers in China (36 percent) than consumers in Brazil and the U.S. (both 13 percent).
- Consumers in the U.S. (83 percent), U.K. (79 percent) and Japan (78 percent) are significantly more sensitive to shipping prices than consumers in South Korea (25 percent).
“Given today’s economic situation, international e-commerce is becoming even more enticing as U.S. products are becoming more attractive and affordable for international buyers,” said Jay Oxton, president of mail services, Pitney Bowes, in a company press release. “However, to be successful, retailers need to ensure they can offer a simple and seamless online shopping experience and have a clear understanding of consumers’ purchasing, shipping and communications preferences in each market.”