Americans prefer to shop at home

Only 1% of U.S. eCommerce sales come from stores outside the country

In times of growing globalization, the spread of mobile internet access and technological innovations like cloud computing, it is not surprising that online shoppers have started to cross borders for their purchases. Thanks to unified regulations and tax laws, the alignment of delivery services and logistics processes, and the rise of online marketplaces, which serve customers worldwide, the eCommerce infrastructure is becoming more and more international. People have access to a wider spectrum of new and even more diverse products from abroad and paying is as easy and safe as ever thanks to eWallets and other online payment methods. Thus, consumers in general are increasingly engaging in cross-border transactions. A closer look at international figures however reveals substantial differences between the shopping behavior of onliners from different countries.

Americans prefer to shop at home

Belgium, Ireland, and Canada lead the ranking when it comes to cross-border eCommerce sales. Foreign players claim up to 30% of their eCommerce markets. Austrians and Portuguese also tend to shop abroad, with foreign stores contributing 18% and 16% to their eCommerce sales, respectively. On the other end, U.S. consumers clearly prefer to shop at home: Only 1% of the overall U.S. eCommerce revenue comes from foreign online stores. At the same time, the U.S. is one of the most in-demand cross-border countries for shoppers around the world. Why do the dynamics of domestic and cross-border purchases differ so much between countries? Belgium, Ireland, Canada, and Austria clearly have one thing in common: They share cultural backgrounds and languages with strong neighboring economies. They are linked by long-established commercial bonds to their economically bigger “brothers” France, the UK, the U.S. and Germany, and consumers tend to shop “next door” if they can’t find their desired item in their local store or want a greater product variety in general – just as they’ve been doing with television programs for decades.

If you are interested to read more about the most important drivers of cross-border shopping, the domestic and cross-border shares for selected countries, or to learn more about the methodology, have a look at “eCommerce Cross-border Shares 2020”, a Whitepaper by Statista’s Digital Market Outlook.


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March 2020